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Australia Backs Down on Draconian Copyright Laws

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the not-such-a-hard-line dept.

The Courts 113

AcidAUS writes "The widely-publicized reforms to Australian copyright — which would turn iPod, camera phone and DVD recorder owners into criminals — have been significantly amended. The amendment bill was passed this past Friday, after the changes were put into place. The Labor and Green parties still have problems with the bill as it exists, but the Labor party (at least) wants to let it go based on the fact that it is 'a million times' better than the original proposed legislation." From the article: "Following an outcry by industry bodies and the public, [Attorney-General Philip] Ruddock amended the bill. 'The Government has listened to the Senate Committee and stakeholders and has improved the effectiveness of the reforms,' Mr Ruddock said in a statement. 'The amended reforms make it clear consumers can transfer the music they own onto devices such as iPods and enable the next wave of technology by allowing people to record a TV or radio program on mobile devices to watch it at a more convenient time.' The amendments also removed on-the-spot fines for some copyright offenses, to ensure they didn't 'unintentionally capture harmless activities of ordinary Australians'."

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113 comments

They elected a guy named... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113576)

Draco? Wow! No wonder they've had problems.

What other laws has this guy written?

Re:They elected a guy named... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113856)

"Draconian"

Don't worry, we aren't biased here.

Re:They elected a guy named... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17114824)

"capture harmless activities of ordinary Australians"

ROFL

Re:They elected a guy named... (2, Funny)

pedalman (958492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115022)

No, no, no!! The name is Malfoy; Draco Malfoy.

You mispelled Draca. (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 7 years ago | (#17117282)

Given the great choice, slavery or death, I'd say the guy was a Draka [wikipedia.org] . OK, the choice is not really death, it's don't share or risk being sued out of your house and savings and having your wages attached so that you will never profit from your earnings again - which is really just two choices of slavery. Oh yeah, if you try to get out of paying the rest of your life, you will be thrown into jail. So, get back to work and don't hum anything loud enough to be heard by your peers.

But seeing the close ties that this govenment has (2, Interesting)

Silas Palmer-Cannon (973394) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113642)

But seeing the close ties that the Howard government has with MPAA type industries (as well as commercial broadcasters) these updated reforms are a great surprise. I personally wouldn't have been surprised to see them go the whole hog and make just about everything illegal.

Re:But seeing the close ties that this govenment h (1)

kidtux1 (896975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113984)

Isn't this what is happening in the US? =p I agree that the world's copyright system is out of date but I have yet to hear of any decent ways to change it. Does any one have any ides or can put me to a site with some good information? ---- http://www.iheartmygeek.com/ [iheartmygeek.com]

Here they're more subtle. (4, Insightful)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114326)

In the U.S., the pro-copyright lobby hasn't been quite so audacious as they were trying to be in Australia; here they've been more subtle, and thus have avoided much public controversy. Via the DMCA, they made it illegal to upload DVDs or next-generation audio formats to an iPod (unless you've re-purchased it specifically), and created an artificial distinction completely without precedent between works protected by DRM, and unprotected works. Then they got Congress to extend the term of Copyright, to prevent any of their generations-old horde of cultural IP from leaking out into the public domain.

The U.S. and Australia have much the same disease, it's just that they seem to have gotten hit with a more virulent form, and thus noticed it; here we seem to have the creeping, cancerlike version, and for the most part are still ignoring it and hoping it'll go away.

Re:Here they're more subtle. (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115778)

"Via the DMCA, they made it illegal to upload DVDs or next-generation audio formats to an iPod (unless you've re-purchased it specifically..."

Can you point out the parts of that that make it illegal to do what you just mentioned? What audio formats am I prevented from putting on my iPod?

What prevents me from putting my DVD onto my iPod? I think fair use covers me for backing up my DVD's and watching them where I want to (interoperability).

I think I'm safe just as long as I don't circulate methods of circumventing CSS. I don't believe anything says I can't use it for personal use....??

Re:Here they're more subtle. (2, Informative)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17116092)

"Via the DMCA, they made it illegal to upload DVDs or next-generation audio formats to an iPod (unless you've re-purchased it specifically..."

Can you point out the parts of that that make it illegal to do what you just mentioned? What audio formats am I prevented from putting on my iPod?

What prevents me from putting my DVD onto my iPod? I think fair use covers me for backing up my DVD's and watching them where I want to (interoperability).

I think I'm safe just as long as I don't circulate methods of circumventing CSS. I don't believe anything says I can't use it for personal use....??

IANAL, but I believe that the DMCA prohibits you from cracking CSS, not just from distributing cracking tools.

Re:Here they're more subtle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17116110)

I'm with soft guy - you're already a criminal here, just didn't know it. Sorry

Re:But seeing the close ties that this govenment h (2, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17117394)

"I have yet to hear of any decent ways to change it."

Solving that problem depends on refactoring the foundations of the concept and realizing that copyright in itself is an actual tax (extracted from the economy by means of legal monopoly pricing).

Once you realize that copyright _is_ a tax, despite its masquerade, it becomes a problem no more or less difficult to solve than any other government incentives and financing situations (ie, is the tax base as equitable as possible, does the taxation do as little secondary economic damage as possible, is the money going to the intended recipients and achieving its purpose, etc).

Re:But seeing the close ties that this govenment h (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#17123666)

I agree that the world's copyright system is out of date but I have yet to hear of any decent ways to change it.

In my mind, the major changes that need to be made (fundamentally I'm disagree with copyright entirely, but it's always going to need to be around in some form) are:

* Make copyright for commercialisation reasons opt-in.
* Decriminalise non-profit infringement.
* Dramatically reduce the length of copyright terms and link them to how successful the work is - so more successful works reach the end of their copyright sooner.

Smoke and mirrors (4, Insightful)

sterno (16320) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114018)

This sounds a lot like a deliberate strategy. Put out a proposal that's totally extreme and ridiculous to freak people out. Then when they reject it out of hand you come back with what you really wanted in the first place and it'll pass without dispute. Given labor's reaction, it looks like it worked.

Re:Smoke and mirrors (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 7 years ago | (#17118456)

This sounds a lot like a deliberate strategy. Put out a proposal that's totally extreme and ridiculous to freak people out. Then when they reject it out of hand you come back with what you really wanted in the first place and it'll pass without dispute.

The term used for this strategem in Australia is the "Ambit Claim", and it's commonly used by the unions via an egregious claim against management that forces them to the table. The claims are so completely over-the-top that management must respond, which is the entire point -- forcing the dialogue to begin.

Some common sense at last (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17113652)

So they finally stopped smoking whatever it was they were smoking.

Penal Colony Law II (3, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113662)

If the draconian copyright laws was made legal, the RIAA would been justified in asking judges all over the world to send those guilty of copyright infringements to Australia. The kola bears are now breathing easier that they don't have to share their space.

Re:Penal Colony Law II (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114446)

f the draconian copyright laws was made legal, the RIAA would been justified in asking judges all over the world to send those guilty of copyright infringements to Australia.

Wouldn't be the first time criminals were sent down under.

Re:Penal Colony Law II (1)

freedom_india (780002) | more than 7 years ago | (#17116038)

Ohhhh So, down under means Australia.
Silly me. All these days i was assuming we were referring to G'itmo, Cuba.

Re:Penal Colony Law II (5, Informative)

mcsporran (832624) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114596)

<Pedant>

The Koala, is not a bear, and is not called a bear.

It is a marsupial, and it is called a Koala.

</Pedant>

Re:Penal Colony Law II (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17118992)

Phascolarctos cinereus


phaskolos -> "pouch"


arktos -> "bear"


cinereus -> "ash-colored"


So the "ash-colored pouch-bear" isn't a bear?

Re:Penal Colony Law II (1)

ghostgum (611798) | more than 7 years ago | (#17120250)

That's right, just like the platypus isn't a duck even though it's latin name means "duck billed".

Re:Penal Colony Law II (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17122340)

How much can a Koala bear?

Re:Penal Colony Law II (1)

radish (98371) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115804)

Free trip to Australia? Let me just go fire up Azerus...

Kola bears ? (1)

PigIronBob (885337) | more than 7 years ago | (#17119528)

ah, now i get it

So the original authors get what they want! (5, Insightful)

Spazntwich (208070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113678)

Ask for something insane. "Compromise" down to what you wanted in the first place. Everyone is happy.

Good God, some strategies are so old and obvious I'd be amazed that they still work if I didn't know most people are idiots.

Mod parent up! (2, Insightful)

msobkow (48369) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113830)

The parent poster has the issue dead bang on. Propose something insane and jackbootish, then compromise so it's "merely" oppressive.

On the flip side, it does sound like the current issue is explicitly and expressly granting media conversion and playback rights to people. That isn't what I'd call "oppressive", but a clarification of personal use rights that should have been obvious in any country.

Re:Mod parent up! (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115680)

On the flip side, it does sound like the current issue is explicitly and expressly granting media conversion and playback rights to people. That isn't what I'd call "oppressive"

The article does not actually lay out the actual proposed amendments, and provide no link to the actual text of the amendments.

Maybe I'm paranoid or cynical, or maybe it's just the blatant common sense of my long experience in having actually read the text of many peices of legilation and having seen that newsreporting on legislation is usually a careless hash of dishonest press releases, but I'm not going to trust that supposed flip side anything till I get an actuial link to see the text. As you say, just becuase these ammendments are less insane and less opressive than the original legislation does not mean that they are anywhere near sane, dose not mean they aren't oppressive.

It is quite common for industry lobbyists to claim a fictional compromise... typically something like "we will give you something you already had, so long as you don't violate our oppressive law in trying to do it". Something as insane as a law seizing ownership of every car in the country and turning them over as the RIAA's exclusive property... and the RIAA compromising(laugh) by "granting"(laugh laugh) everyone the right to drive to work... but the law still makes it criminal to steal the RIAA's car (formerly your car) to actually drive to work. Or they could just give the RIAA ownership of the keys to all the cars, and make it illegal for you to "hotwire" your own car, denying you the legal ability to drive your car.

In this contect they could allow "media conversion and playback rights" only so far as the oppressive DRM systems and oppressing DRM law already made it possible/permissable, or they could grant the technical right to do it while still criminalizing anyone from supplying the actual product or ability to do so... which is the car key example above. You hav ethe right to drive your car or conver and play your media, but you can't actually get the key to do so because the law imprisons anyone who supplies you the car key or DRM key needed to actually use that fictional right.

Does anyone have a link to the actual text of these amendments?

-

Re:Mod parent up! (1)

jazir1979 (637570) | more than 7 years ago | (#17120048)


Sadly, I fear you are right.

I both thank you and admonish you for bursting my bubble of hope :(

Re:Mod parent up! (1)

gfim (452121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17120226)

The ammendments are here [aph.gov.au] . I haven't read them all yet but they look fairly good. In a few places they have substituted "either for trade or to an extent that will affect prejudicially the financial interests of the performer in the performance" with "for trade". This means that non-commercial copying is no longer an offence. Also, private copying of a recording that you already own a copy of is not an offence.

Re:Mod parent up! (2, Informative)

NoMaster (142776) | more than 7 years ago | (#17125238)

I'm not going to trust that supposed flip side anything till I get an actuial link to see the text.
Then get thee to Weatherall's Law [blogspot.com] , the blog of Kim Weatherall, Associate Director of the Intellectual Property Research Institute of Australia, a senior lecturer in law at Melbourne University, and Board Member of the Australian Digital Alliance.

There you'll find she's put together a good, easy to follow summary of the whole process - from the development of the Bill, through the parliamentary discussion (ha!) and amendments, to final ratification by both Houses - along with insightful commentary, FAQs, links to the full Bill, etc.

You'll also come away with the knowledge that the final result isn't quite as rosy as that zombie arsehole Ruddock is painting...

Exactly what I was thinking. (1)

fuego451 (958976) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113932)

This strategy has worked just fine in the US for many years; the price of gas, other consumer goods and politics come to mind. As a matter of fact, I believe the good ol' US perfected this method to the fine art it is today.

Re:Exactly what I was thinking. (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115630)

Except, in the US, lobbyists propose an "extreme and over the top bill that nobody will accept", and it gets slipped through on the tail of another more benign and not related bill, with little chance for anyone to refute it.

Thus we are left with a completely outrageous law that suits industry and not the consumer.

Re:So the original authors get what they want! (1)

jamar0303 (896820) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114216)

If only that worked when shopping... I live somewhere where negotiating prices is the morm. For me, it usually goes like this- Ask for half of given price, get rejected and sometimes sworn at.

RIAA goes shopping. (2, Funny)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114526)

Well, the tactic would work while shopping, you're just not thinking bold enough.

It's more like this. Walk into store with a machine gun, tell the owner that you're going to kill his family, kill him, and take all his stuff. Wait for him to beg for mercy; act like you're touched by his display. Relent, and agree to only take his stuff. Bask in adoration for your mercy and kindness.

Re:RIAA goes shopping. (1)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115864)

Walk into store with a machine gun, tell the owner that you're going to kill his family, kill him, and take all his stuff. Wait for him to beg for mercy; act like you're touched by his display. Relent, and agree to only take his stuff. Bask in adoration for your mercy and kindness.

You're missing an important part of the picture. The RIAA compromises a lot more than that.

After taking all his stuff and celebrating your generous compromise of not killing his family, you come back a week later and again insist on killing his entire family, and again you show how reasonable and willing to compromise you are by agreeing to only kill half his family.

-

Re:So the original authors get what they want! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17114398)

Most people (sometimes even on /.) think sticking to your guns makes you an idealist and that idealism is naive or worse. It seems to transcend politics as well. Employers, policemen, other people in a position of authority... they all seem to see people unwilling to compromise as the problem.

I think its because most people like to avoid confrontation and thinking as much as possible.

Re:So the original authors get what they want! (1)

indiechild (541156) | more than 7 years ago | (#17122424)

Indeed, it's one of the oldest tricks in the book. In popular psychology they call it the "door in the face effect". Slam them full in the face, then step back a little and offer something more "reasonable", which they will usually accept.

Re:So the original authors get what they want! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17123954)

There was no way they could have stopped it anyway, since the conservatives control both houses of Parliament.

The best they could have done is to have Senate hearing after Senate hearing until everyone got bored, and they stayed as-is anyway.

MPAA? (1)

erbbysam (964606) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113694)

the MPAA apparently was taking a long nap after there last political escapade and somehow let this one slip through there firm grasp on politics.

Idiots were duped by "engineering expectations" (4, Funny)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113714)

so it was "a million times better"..

Oh.. I don't mind you repeatedly punching my face.. that's a million times better than disembowling me!

stupid stupid stupid stupid stupid STUPID people!

Re:Idiots were duped by "engineering expectations" (1)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114118)

"but the Labor party (at least) wants to let it go based on the fact that it is 'a million times' better than the original proposed legislation."

You mean we had the option of just voting NO?

It's a variation on "It sucks LESS" (1, Redundant)

Chas (5144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115442)

The problem is, it still sucks.

Re:It's a variation on "It sucks LESS" (0, Offtopic)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115940)

The problem is, it still sucks. (Score:3, Informative)

I am frighted by the concept that there are people out there for whom that would indeed be "informative".

-

Re:Idiots were duped by "engineering expectations" (2, Informative)

sholden (12227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17117500)

It's irrelevant anyway, the Coalition has a majority in both houses of parliament, they can pass anything they want.

Re:Idiots were duped by "engineering expectations" (1)

Nanpa (971527) | more than 7 years ago | (#17123982)

They wont be trying to put any more major negative issues in their plate now, especially since they've got enough on their plate as it is and the election will be fair soon (Late next year?)

Re:Idiots were duped by "engineering expectations" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17124768)

Yep. October or so.

The point is, that by holding off for a better deal, Labor may well have caused the Coalition to just get fed up and pass the original draconian laws.

I think that Labor did the right thing. EFA agrees (mostly).

Bad Laws (2, Insightful)

njko (586450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113744)

they need to first identify the crime, then make the law accurate. they always mess with the technology, they love to define computer terms like hyperspace e-mail then make ridiculous laws and impossible to fulfill

Re:Bad Laws (2, Informative)

CRC'99 (96526) | more than 7 years ago | (#17121456)

To make up for it however, it's legal to modchip a game console in Australia. DVD region codes are also frowned upon - multi-region players are available off the shelf from pretty much anywhere - and it's also legal to modify your player to play any region DVDs if it doesn't come that way.

Our federal court ruled that it was not fair and an abuse of corporations power to restrict what zones people can watch DVDs from and would have an adverse effect on customers. At least we're not totally nuts :)

In Soviet Australia... (-1, Redundant)

xyankee (693587) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113754)

... music pirates you!!

American cred (3, Insightful)

b0s0z0ku (752509) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113818)

The US is losing credibility, and other countries no longer feel the need to curry favor at all costs.

-b.

Ah, Daddy I want a pony (4, Insightful)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113928)

This is a pretty common thing to do. We call it "Daddy I want a Pony".

Here's how it works:

Kid: Daddy, I want a pony
Dad: Honey, be reasonable. A pony requires land, a stable, and constant care!
Kid: But Daddy, I want a pony!
Dad: It would cost thousands of dollars, we can't afford it, you don't know if you like horses.
Kid: (crying) BUT DADDY, I WANT A PONY!
Dad: Uh uh uh... How about a dog instead?
Kid: (crying stops) Oh okay, I can settle for that.

So dad thinks "Phew! That was close, I almost had to buy a pony" ... ...and the kid thinks "Easiest way to get a dog!"

You see this with taxes all the time. They threaten to tax everything... cars, boats, children, blades of grass, pimples on your chin. And then they "settle" for raising income tax another few points. And then you're supposed to feel "relieved".

Re:Ah, Daddy I want a pony (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17114256)

I want all of Czechoslavakia!

No

I want all of Czechoslavakia!

No

Ok, then how about just the Sudentenland?

Fine

Re:Ah, Daddy I want a pony (3, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115938)

"You see this with taxes all the time. They threaten to tax everything... cars, boats, children, blades of grass, pimples on your chin. And then they "settle" for raising income tax another few points. And then you're supposed to feel "relieved".

Actually...they do the opposite, which kids...and I don't understand it.

They really should tax you for children...rather than give you a tax break. People children are an extra burden on society...schools, medical, social services (for so many people that are irresponsible for their own kids). In short, people have kids, which use up extra resources. Why should they not take a larger role in paying for them, rather than getting a cut in taxes, and costing those without kids more?

I mean, I hear the arguement, that tax breaks encourage people to have more kids. Why? People will always f*ck. F*cking will result in kids...I don't think anyone needs encouragement to screw more. I don't think that any couple has said to each other.."Hon...I just don't wanna have any (more) kids.". "But babe, look at the tax write off we'll get for the kids if we have it"."Ok, babe...take them panties on down there then!!!"

Anyway, so, if they're looking for revenues that target a burden that uses the resources that these taxes pay for...tax parents for each kid they have.

Re:Ah, Daddy I want a pony (1)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17116240)

They really should tax you for children...rather than give you a tax break.
I predict you would have little success running for public office with this talking point.

Re:Ah, Daddy I want a pony (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17116806)

"I predict you would have little success running for public office with this talking point."

Well, maybe they shouldn't enact a tax on kids..but, for sure they shouldn't get a tax break, which in essence is making people without kids pay the extra for the ones that do.

:-)

Yeah, I know...wouldn't be too popular...but, it sure isn't fair the way it stands right now.

I shouldn't be penalized for being someone who chooses not to have kids...because he doesn't want them.

Re:Ah, Daddy I want a pony (2, Interesting)

soft_guy (534437) | more than 7 years ago | (#17119656)

"I predict you would have little success running for public office with this talking point."

Well, maybe they shouldn't enact a tax on kids..but, for sure they shouldn't get a tax break, which in essence is making people without kids pay the extra for the ones that do.

:-)

Yeah, I know...wouldn't be too popular...but, it sure isn't fair the way it stands right now.

I shouldn't be penalized for being someone who chooses not to have kids...because he doesn't want them.

The tax incentive you are talking about is simply the concept of claiming dependents on one's income tax. If you end up (for whatever reason) taking care of an elderly relative, you would qualify for the same tax break.

I certainly would have no problem with eliminating all income tax and just eliminating the pork in the federal budget to pay for it (kill NASA, Amtrak, no optional wars, get rid of most federal workers, etc.)

Re:Ah, Daddy I want a pony (2, Insightful)

Alsee (515537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17118288)

they do the opposite, whi[th] kids...and I don't understand it.
They really should tax you for children...rather than give you a tax break.


I'm not arguing for or against anything here... if someone has concrete effective improvements to suggest to the system, great. I'm merely trying to adress your stated not-understanding why things are the way they are.

In theory people should build up a signifigant cash nest egg before creating a child, to properly supply that child's needs.

Unfortuantely I'm not aware of any acceptable means of actually ensuring/enforcing that in practice. Any means I can think of to attempt to enforce it would require inherently "evil" means and/or would be wide open to abuse in one way or another. You need a licence to get a dog, but any incompetent jackass gets to pop out kids. As bad as that is, I hardly want to contemplate a governement rounding people up at gunpoint and forcibly sterilizing them or forcibly preforming abortions on them, or anything else within ten thousand miles of that.

So in practice a signifigant number of people will produce kids without building up the advance savings to fully cover the costs of turning that child into a maximally productive 18-year-old citizen entering society. In practice a malnourished and/or uneducated and/or substandard medical cared child will result in greater long term indirect social costs upon you and me than the cost taxes to help ensure that those minimum standards are met. For example you cannot run a democracy with an uneducated population. Even with (tax based) universal public education we already have a hard enough time maintaining the quality of our democracy. Paying taxes to run a public school system is a small price to pay to ensure minimally prepared citizens entering the elecorate, and minimally prepared workers entering the national workforce. Paying those taxes are worth it and benefit you and me, even if we have no children of our own.

Now more specifically to the "child tax credit". Unfortuantely most people are rotten at planing ahead, and in particular have a rough time adapting to a drop in available cash flow. You may be able to get by fine on an $X budget, but if you have established mortgage payments and car payments and food shopping etc etc etc based on a higher $Y budget can make it extremly difficult to move to that lower $X budget... especially when you can't change the mortgage payment or the car payments. Even a reasonable well off middle class family can get "crunched" by child expenses when they had a previously balanced budget with substantial fixed exppenses like a mortgage.

The idea is that you don't want the child.... the future citizen... to get caught in that crunch and wind up long-term "impaired" with the inevitable long term costs and negative impact on society itself... the long term impact on you and me. The $1000 child tax credit ensures at least a $1000 buffer to shield the developing child from suffering the worst brunt of that crunch (food / clothing / medical care).

Again, I'm not fighting for anything here. Well, I *would* argue for public school taxes but I'm not taking any sort of side on child tax credits. I see it as an ugly solution to an ugly problem. Offhand I don't have anything to offer I consider much of a better answer to the ugly problem... I don't have much interest in the subject and nothing particularly to fight for either way. If I have nothing to offer on an ugly problem then I'm fairly content to with whatever other poeple (who do have an interest/position) work out on that ugly problem.

So you may well disagree with the reasoning/justistification for child tax credits (I agree it's an ugly solution), but hopefully you now understand it. Maybe now you do agree with it, or maybe now you can rationally try to improve it. I'd say understanding and dissagreeing is a step up and more productive than not understanding.

-

Re:Ah, Daddy I want a pony (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17122870)

"Now more specifically to the "child tax credit". Unfortuantely most people are rotten at planing ahead, and in particular have a rough time adapting to a drop in available cash flow. You may be able to get by fine on an $X budget, but if you have established mortgage payments and car payments and food shopping etc etc etc based on a higher $Y budget can make it extremly difficult to move to that lower $X budget... especially when you can't change the mortgage payment or the car payments. Even a reasonable well off middle class family can get "crunched" by child expenses when they had a previously balanced budget with substantial fixed exppenses like a mortgage. The idea is that you don't want the child.... the future citizen... to get caught in that crunch and wind up long-term "impaired" with the inevitable long term costs and negative impact on society itself... the long term impact on you and me. The $1000 child tax credit ensures at least a $1000 buffer to shield the developing child from suffering the worst brunt of that crunch (food / clothing / medical care)."

Yeah, but, I'd argue that if people are THAT bad with money in the first place...this $1K 'rebate' or credit, isn't gonna buy them any room...they'll blow it too and still be where they started off from....while I STILL pay more taxes than them, and I don't have kids.

Otherwise....you made some valid points.

Re:Ah, Daddy I want a pony (2, Insightful)

syousef (465911) | more than 7 years ago | (#17121376)

Except that your argument ignores the invention of birth control, and would lead to a system where people could tax themselves into extinction. Oh and you're also conveniently forgetting that while it is a burden on society to bring a child into the world, that burden is also shared by the child who is suppose to have decent prospects of growing up and contributing to society and taxation. What you're talking about limits the population which actually decreases revenue in the long run. Even the politicians won't do that because while they will hold a specific office for a 2-4 year period, they hope to be leeching taxes from people in different positions for as long as they live. Well until population becomes so unsustainable that the standard of living drops, then you're looking at a situation like China where they limit the number of children you're allowed and are draconian about enforcing it.

Yeah apart from all those GAPING HOLES you've thought this through real well pal. Couldn't possibly have anything to do personal issues and resentment of children.

Re:Ah, Daddy I want a pony (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17122974)

"Except that your argument ignores the invention of birth control, and would lead to a system where people could tax themselves into extinction."

I don't understand the point you're trying to make here...but, with reference to birth control, I practice it in a BIG way, so as not to have kids...but, someone that fucks without a rubber and has a kid, they get a tax break? Why should I pay more tax because I believe in not having kids? At least not anytime soon if ever.

"Well until population becomes so unsustainable that the standard of living drops...Yeah apart from all those GAPING HOLES you've thought this through real well pal. Couldn't possibly have anything to do personal issues and resentment of children."

Well, I keep hearing that we have too many people on the earth, and are burning its resources too quickly. And frankly, no, I don't really want kids. They would be too big a burden on my lifestyle. I make a good bit of money...but, not enough to where I'd want to give up enough for kids, nor do I want to expend the time for them, I like to come and go as I please, go on trips/vacations...and I just don't see myself staying with just one woman anytime soon. I guess kids are ok for people who want them...more power to them, however, just because they choose a different path in life than I do....they should not get a tax break. It costs time and money to have kids....and they should pay for it. I should not have to subsidize their choice.

Re:Ah, Daddy I want a pony (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17121598)

Yeah. I think they need to tax poor people too. After all, they don't pay any taxes at all, just use up resources that I pay for. In fact, while we are at it, lets tax old people more. Fucking medicare using bastards. 3.5% of my last paycheck went to that. Idiot.

Re:Ah, Daddy I want a pony (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#17123778)

I mean, I hear the arguement, that tax breaks encourage people to have more kids. Why? People will always f*ck. F*cking will result in kids...I don't think anyone needs encouragement to screw more. I don't think that any couple has said to each other.."Hon...I just don't wanna have any (more) kids.". "But babe, look at the tax write off we'll get for the kids if we have it"."Ok, babe...take them panties on down there then!!!"

"Family-oriented" tax breaks exist to encourage the "right" type of people (ie: those who are already productive enough in society such that tax breaks actually matter to them) to reproduce, in the hope that such people will raise their children to be similarly productive, thus improving society as a whole.

Most first world countries don't even have birth rates high enough to hit replacement, which gives lots of people (from economists to white supremists) cause for concern. This is why those tax breaks exist, along with the "morality" related hangovers from earlier times that were in place to "encourage" people to settle into a "normal" family.

Boy, that's some mighty hot water... (5, Insightful)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113958)

...could you turn the temperature down just a bit so I can get used to it before you make it any hotter.

Thanks,
Kermit

Crikey!! (-1, Offtopic)

MooseTick (895855) | more than 7 years ago | (#17113982)

I don't have anything useful to contribute. I just saw the article was about Austrailia and like to use crikey!!

Favourite Quote (5, Funny)

15Bit (940730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114152)

"These new provisions have the potential to make everyday Australians in homes and businesses across the country into criminals on a scale that we have not witnessed before."

Now come on guys, that just not true - only 200 hundred years ago you were ALL criminals....

Re:Favourite Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17114390)

Excuse me? WTF?

Indigenous Australians [wikipedia.org]

Re:Favourite Quote (0, Redundant)

bigbird (40392) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115190)

Now come on guys, that just not true - only 200 hundred years ago you were ALL criminals....

I'll have you know that's certainly not the case. Some of us were prison officers! Duh!

Re:Favourite Quote (1)

lgftsa (617184) | more than 7 years ago | (#17118392)

*raises hand* Descendant of First Fleet doctor.

Re:Favourite Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17119426)

He must have been pretty good. Less than 3% fatality on first fleet. The third fleet on the other hand...

Re:Favourite Quote (1)

Antarius (542615) | more than 7 years ago | (#17122376)

And then there is South Australia.

We are the only State that was never a Penal Colony. Of course, I've often wondered if that makes as a Vaginal Colony.

(Melbournians, especially Collingwood Supporters, need not respond!)

Re:Favourite Quote (1)

DaemonDazz (785920) | more than 7 years ago | (#17122418)

And of course, not all states took convicts.

Re:Favourite Quote (1)

abhi_beckert (785219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17119268)

Bullshit, the vast majority of our population can't trace their lines back to the convicts who first came here.

Re:Favourite Quote (1)

Antarius (542615) | more than 7 years ago | (#17122314)

Whilst not able to trace back to convicts (I'm in South Australia!), we've been able to trace back to the first one of our bloodline that jumped ship here in the 1800's...

So I guess I'm not descended from Convicts, but Illegal Immigrants.

Catch you later. I'm off to Baxter now.

Re:Favourite Quote (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 7 years ago | (#17122296)

Were? Still am. And proud of it

Re:Favourite Quote (1)

Trongy (64652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17122868)

"Now come on guys, that just not true - only 200 hundred years ago you were ALL criminals...."
becuase as we all know, there were no black people living in Australia before the English arrived.

Re:Favourite Quote (2, Informative)

alchemy101 (961551) | more than 7 years ago | (#17123318)

All criminals? South Australia was founded as a 'free province'. Victoria and (I think) Western Australia were also free provinces but later accepted convicts.

Truly Faulty Logic (3, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114424)

wants to let it go based on the fact that it is 'a million times' better than the original proposed legislation.

A bad law that's now a less bad law is still a bad law. Such faulty rationale only leads lobbyists to ask for the truly impossibly unreasonable, knowing that the compromise will still give them the mostly unreasonable.

Reminds me of a recent case where one woman won a major lottery jackpot, and immediately another woman claimed this was her winning ticket, which she had lost in the convenience store parking lot. The compromisers in the public media were claiming that, because so much money was involved, that it would be fair to just split the money between the two claimants. I don't know whose idea of fair this is, but certainly not mine. The woman claiming to have lost the ticket eventually admitted to lying about this, and the true winner was paid all of their winnings.

Moral: Don't fall for the trap that the fair solution would be to give us half of what we originally asked for. Some people deserve none at all!

Re:Truly Faulty Logic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17124056)

The conservatives control parliament anyway, so there was nothing Labor could do to actually stop these laws other than pestering the Government with Senate hearings.

Hopefully Labor will amend them properly when they get into power.

Any music they own, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17114494)

I'm sure the recording industry is going to claim that the consumers don't actually own any of the music they thought they bought, they merely got a license to listen to the music, and thus this right to copy does not apply.

But do they realize... (2, Insightful)

ChilyWily (162187) | more than 7 years ago | (#17114920)

why such a draconian proposal would be made in the first place? Isn't it just a ploy to scare people into "look what could've happened" to "we are your saviors, we understand the little guy" - I call shenanigans. When citizens are called "consumers" and big business threatens the ordinary little guy by LAW, something is seriously messed up. Think of it, when was the last time you read a headline that did not involve a big corporation/lobby influencing a government to do something that runs completely opposite of what the role of a government is. Why does the little guy get so jacked everytime!

Re:But do they realize... (1)

Shadow99_1 (86250) | more than 7 years ago | (#17116834)

'Because he's little' is the simple answer... Much like ants without an army of them swarming you they are treated as nothing...

Re:But do they realize... (1)

kocsonya (141716) | more than 7 years ago | (#17122194)

You still live in the leftie dream that the government is for the people. That idea is way outdated. The government is here to provide a lucrative business environment. The current Aussie government rebuts any environmental or social issue by explaining how it would hurt this or that industry. Kyoto? Would hurt our coal industry! Protecting ancient aboriginal rock art? Would hurt the gas industry! Not selling uranium to countries that didn't sign the NPT? Would hurt the uranium industry! The list goes on.

By the way, if you can create a law which makes most people criminals, but you do not necessarily strictly enforce that law, then you have a tool to control the population. If Joe is too vocal against the actions of the government, we can always lock him up for ripping his CDs or taping some TV show. It's basically the same idea as the black car arriving at your door at dawn with silent men in black leather coats, only you don't need to waste money on leather coats and petrol.

They miss the point the copyright (2, Interesting)

l2718 (514756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17115410)

"The amended reforms make it clear consumers can transfer the music they own onto devices such as iPods and enable the next wave of technology by allowing people to record a TV or radio program on mobile devices to watch it at a more convenient time," according to Attorney-General Ruddock

From where I'm sitting this is a misapprehension of the way copyright law is supposed to work. His approach seems to be as follows: Start with the assumption that all copying is bad. Then theorize what the next wave of technology is going to be, decide that you like it, and carve out special exemption for this technology from your draconian law. Rather, you make the law ignore technology and concertrate on the content. I think the original American system (reasonable copyright term coupled with "fair use") would be quite sufficient today, for example.

But the point is ... (1)

Rudisaurus (675580) | more than 7 years ago | (#17118210)

The amendments also removed on-the-spot fines for some copyright offenses, to ensure they didn't 'unintentionally capture harmless activities of ordinary Australians'."
... which, I think, is exactly what the RIAA and their ilk are after in the first place. "Oh, you're infringing our rights? Better pay up, Buddy; we can make endless trouble for you and then it's gonna get *really* expensive!"

This, I believe, is what used to be called a shakedown, and it used to be considered a criminal activity. Now it appears to have turned into a routine M/O for business -- a sad commentary on our times. Oh, what sad times are these, when passing ruffians can say 'ni' at will to old ladies. There is a pestilence upon this land. Nothing is sacred. Even those who arrange and design shrubberies are under considerable economic stress at this period in history.

But I digress ...

Did they fall into a trap? (1)

mr100percent (57156) | more than 7 years ago | (#17118772)

The Labor and Green parties still have problems with the bill as it exists, but the Labor party (at least) wants to let it go based on the fact that it is 'a million times' better than the original proposed legislation."
Are you sure that this wasn't the original plan all along? It's somewhat common to propose something radical, and when that gets shot down, you propose something more moderate (and what you originally wanted), and it passes with little fight.

Sigh. Everyone fell for it. (1)

Catbeller (118204) | more than 7 years ago | (#17119516)

This is what happened:

They asked for the galaxy, and they "settled" for the sun and the moon.

They haven't back down from what they really wanted. They have what they really wanted.

Actually, this is an improvement (1)

thoglette (74419) | more than 7 years ago | (#17121986)

Before this law, backups and format & time shifting was illegal. It's just that everyone did it and The Industry didn't care as long as you weren't re-distributing. Mainly because the burden of proof was not worthwhile.

I've yet to read the revised legislation, but the legalisation of these three elements would be a major improvement on the existing situation.

The proposed legislation was actually worse than the old stuff - it added explicit liability etc etc

This is Australia, isn't it? (1)

Drooling Iguana (61479) | more than 7 years ago | (#17122046)

The widely-publicized reforms to Australian copyright -- which would turn iPod, camera phone and DVD recorder owners into criminals -- have been significantly amended.
Wait, isn't everyone in Australia already a criminal? That was the whole point, wasn't it?

Re:This is Australia, isn't it? (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 7 years ago | (#17122986)

Wait, isn't everyone in Australia already a criminal? That was the whole point, wasn't it?

Well, they are all descended from criminals. Now I don't know which way evolution works in this case. Maybe they have evolved into super-criminals by now, that's why they need such draconian laws.

Re:This is Australia, isn't it? (1)

skingers6894 (816110) | more than 7 years ago | (#17123228)

Well, not really. Australia consists of a number of states that used to be separate colonies before federation. A number of these were founded as "free" colonies. Generally speaking the ones that play the better code of football...

Re:This is Australia, isn't it? (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#17123844)

Wait, isn't everyone in Australia already a criminal? That was the whole point, wasn't it?

You say this in jest (I hope ;) ), but ironically it's actually true, vis-a-vis activities related to copyright.

Under current Australian laws, we aren't even able to record (most) things on TV (to time-shift or otherwise). There's no concept of "fair use", or similar. I've often wondered how Apple were even able to sell the iPod in Australia, given that until the Oz iTunes Store opened up a few months ago, there wasn't any legal way consumers could actually get music onto one.

So while this bill almost certainly one of those "ask for something outrageous if you merely want to get something unlikely" ploys, in all likelihood it actually makes the legal situation better, because it was so bad to begin with.

What changed? (1)

atomicstrawberry (955148) | more than 7 years ago | (#17122060)

Does anyone have some information on what they've actually amended? If this is the same legislation that I recall, it was going to be illegal for me to have a modchip in my games consoles so that I could play legitimately purchased import software (they like to gouge us for massive margins on games, if we get them at all). If this is the same legislation, then I want to know if that specific part has been fixed yet or not.

Does this change the "you can only watch once" bit (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 7 years ago | (#17123440)

Does this change the (stupid) clause in the law that says timeshifting is ok but says that the timeshifted content must be deleted/destroyed after you have watched it once?

Re:Does this change the "you can only watch once" (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#17123892)

Does this change the (stupid) clause in the law that says timeshifting is ok but says that the timeshifted content must be deleted/destroyed after you have watched it once?

I don't agree with it, but such a clause would be perfectly aligned with the idea of time-shifting. Far from stupid, it formally defines something the concept of "time-shifting" inherently implies.

Australian Attorney General's FAQ (1)

Timbotronic (717458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17124336)

is here [ag.gov.au]

FTFFAQ:
What if my CD has copy protection applied to it?

You cannot circumvent an access control technological protection measure (TPM) on a CD or music file to make a format-shift copy. However, most CDs and all vinyl records, do not have TPMs. Most record manufacturers still do not apply TPMs to their CDs.


So it's quite clear where the Aust government's loyalties lie. You only have the right to make a copy if the manufacturer allows it. So it looks like we now have an Aussie DMCA, where it's technically illegal to hold down the shift key when inserting a CD into your PC.

Re:Australian Attorney General's FAQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17124620)

This is intentional.

It is a loophole (big enough to drive a truck through) that is required for Australia's compliance with the US/Australia Free Trade Agreement that states that copyright laws (in Australia) shall be "harmonized" with those of the US.

This specific loophole is Australia's DMCA equivalent (implemented by stealth).

Re:Australian Attorney General's FAQ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17124964)

Fucking FTA is a piece of shit. Free trade my arse. Fuck America.
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