RealTime IT News

IIA Condemns Content Streaming Law

[Sydney, AUSTRALIA] The Internet Industry Association will use this Tuesday's Canberra meeting with Communications Minister Richard Alston to demand a repeal of the Internet streaming review provision contained in the recently enacted digital television legislation.

"The review is ill-conceived, unnecessary and highly damaging to business confidence," said IIA executive director, Peter Coroneos. "As such, it should not proceed. We will be urging the Minister to introduce legislation in the next session of parliament to kill this off before the damage to industry confidence and investment becomes irreparable."

Coroneos claimed that IIA members, "who collectively had billions of dollars invested in broadband infrastructure and content, were distraught at the mere thought of an inquiry into activities which they legitimately expected to remain lawful. This review threatens the basis on which a great deal of money has already been invested. No one ever anticipated the question of whether the Internet was broadcasting being raised. In international terms, what is happening now in Australia is unprecedented. In domestic terms, it is insanity," he said.

Coroneos echoed common complaints that the government was biased towards established broadcasters. "We fear that the government has called the review because it plans to do more favors for the free to air broadcasters," said Mr Coroneos. "If video and audio streaming will be found to be broadcasting, only the free to air broadcasters will be able to deliver the most compelling broadband content over the net - given the government's moratorium on broadcasting licenses they will be handed free of charge a statutory monopoly for six more years."

The IIA claimed that content should not be governed by broadcasting laws, arguing that it is transmitted directly to users on request from a site, as opposed to the point-to-multipoint model of broadcasting. "Our members are deeply cynical and suspicious of the government's motives," he said. "Everyone knows that the Internet is not broadcasting, it is point-to-point. So why would a government hold an inquiry to prove what is common knowledge - unless it had other plans?"

Defending his passionate statements, Coroneos added, "The IIA is not a radical association, but on this issue we will not go quietly into the night."