by Rebecca Merrett

George Brandis no longer responsible for copyright and online piracy

Sep 22, 2015

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has ripped responsibility for copyright and online piracy initiatives out of Attorney General George Brandis’ hands.

New Communications Minister, Mitch Fifield, will take over these government areas under Turnbull’s new administrative arrangements.

Brandis oversaw website blocking laws, which were passed earlier this year under former PM Tony Abbott. These laws allow content rights holders to go to federal court and request that ISPs block a website that violates Australian copyright law.

Brandis also oversaw the Copyright Notice Scheme, which requires ISPs to match IP addresses provided by rights holders of alleged copyright infringers with their customers and send them a notice of infringement.

Internet Australia, the peak body representing Internet users, supports the PM’s decision to move copyright and online piracy to the Communications Minister’s portfolio.

“Internet Australia congratulates our new PM for showing signs of a more realistic approach to Internet legislation,” Internet Australia’s CEO, Laurie Patton, said in a statement. “Senator Brandis’ ‘site blocking’ legislation is one of a number of ad hoc laws passed by the Abbott Government that we believe have little chance of achieving their stated aim but do have the very real likelihood of damaging the integrity and utility of the Internet.”

Internet Australia is also calling for the Communications Minister to re-asses data retention laws that require ISPs to store customers’ metadata for up to two years.