Aussie copyright inhibits data centre spend

 

Economists expect $600m benefit from looser regime.

Australia's existing copyright regime stands as an obstacle to potential investments in local data centres and other internet infrastructure, economist Dr Nicholas Gruen has warned.

Two Lateral Economics reports, released this week, urged the Federal Government to adopt a more flexible regime that would encourage, rather than inhibit, innovation in technologies or applications that relied on or facilitated copyrighted material.

The reports, commissioned by the Australian Digital Alliance (ADA), argued that allowing for more exceptions for those industries reliant on copyright limitations, such as key internet bodies, would boost Australia's economy by up to $593 million per year.

One report, Excepting the Future, claimed that a more flexible regime would also reduce the risk associated with investing in Australian infrastructure, such as data centres and internet caching nodes.

The regime would remove some risks of litigation over copyright violation — an estimated $10 million annually — while lowering the $2 billion risk premium the reports suggested had been placed by angel investors on Australia when compared to the US or Europe.

Though key cloud service providers such as Amazon, Google and Akamai have been eyeing off increased investment locally, report co-author and ADA patron Dr Gruen said the extent of those investments was in some way inhibited by the current regime.

"There is no data centre I could say 'here is a potential data centre, change this law and it will go ahead'," he told iTnews.

"But I do know that Singapore is targeting data centres, Australia would like to have some data centres.

"There are investors considering building data centres in Australia and one of the things that they know about demand and supply and all the rest of it, they know that if they stick the data centre in Singapore, they will get a flexible exception.

"They won't be faced with a regime which says that everything you do is illegal unless Parliament has signed off on it."

He said offering more flexible copyright exemptions would remove a "non-trivial obstacle" to investment in such infrastructure locally.

Dr Gruen acknowledged the report's release this week was timed to influence an inquiry into existing copyright legislation by the Australian Law Reform Commission, which is due to report on the issue by November next year.

The reports also called for the Government to extend the safe harbour regime, which protects carriage service providers from litigation for copyright infringements that take place through their systems and networks that they do not control, initiate or direct.

Safe harbour is not included in the commission's inquiry under its terms of reference. Instead, it has come under the scrutiny of a second, separate inquiry announced by the Attorney-General's Department in October last year.

The review has since stalled, despite receiving an unknown number of submissions from industry. The department refused to provide iTnews last month with a time frame on when it would be completed.

Gruen and co-author Jonathan Houghton said a wider safe harbour was needed to encourage internet intermediaries — particularly caching and cloud service providers — to increase investment locally without fear of becoming entangled in litigation or being withheld from releasing certain services.

"Australia's existing safe harbour rules provide inadequate protection for many internet intermediaries seeking to distribute legitimate copyright material to legitimate users," the reports argued.

"There is substantially more risk to such services in Australia than in the US and in comparable countries like Singapore."

Dr Gruen said Australia's copyright system continued to lag behind technological innovation, failing to allow for exceptions for things such as MP3 encoding or more recently, Optus' TV Now service, which faced another setback in the High Court last week.

"My personal view is that when you have a case as strong as this, it maybe ought to move as soon as possible but that is obviously contrary to the process the Government has set up and I obviously respect that as well," he said.

$600 million boost?

The combination of a wider safe harbour for key internet bodies, as well as more flexible copyright exceptions, could theoretically add $593 million per year to the Australian economy, report authors claimed.

The reports suggested a more malleable copyright regime in Australia would increase the internet's 'use value' — estimated at approximately $60 billion per year based on combined use of search portals, social networks, goods and services sites and efficiencies to the economy — by at least one percent.

Companies deemed to be reliant on copyright limitations and exceptions — such as manufacturing, ICT, research and retail — would benefit from a $227 million increase in income annually, as well as a $138 million increase in aggregate industry value.

"[Apple], the most wealthy company in the world, its entire growth strategy over the last ten years would have been very seriously impaired if it had been operated under Australia's copyright regime," Dr Gruen said.

"It has used the American flexible exceptions regime to do new things and, by definition, Australia's regime says you can't do anything unless you've been explicitly permitted to do it by Parliament in the Copyright Act.

"Of course at the rate that Parliament innovates, we need to establish a practice for maybe a decade or so before the Parliamentarians get around to legalise what everyone is doing."

Copyright © iTnews.com.au . All rights reserved.


Aussie copyright inhibits data centre spend
 
 
 
Top Stories
Frugality as a service: the Amazon story
Behind the scenes, Amazon Web Services is one lean machine.
 
Negotiating with the cloud email megavendors
[Blog post] Lessons from Woolworths’ mammoth migration.
 
Qld govt to move up to 149k staff onto Office 365
Australia's largest deployment, outside of the universities.
 
 
Sign up to receive iTnews email bulletins
   FOLLOW US...

Latest VideosSee all videos »

The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
The great data centre opportunity on Australia's doorstep
Scott Noteboom, CEO of LitBit speaking at The Australian Data Centre Strategy Summit 2014 in the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. http://bit.ly/1qpxVfV Scott Noteboom is a data centre engineer who led builds for Apple and Yahoo in the earliest days of the cloud, and who now eyes Asia as the next big opportunity. Read more: http://www.itnews.com.au/News/372482,how-do-we-serve-three-billion-new-internet-users.aspx#ixzz2yNLmMG5C
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
Interview: Karl Maftoum, CIO, ACMA
To COTS or not to COTS? iTnews asks Karl Maftoum, CIO of the ACMA, at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
Susan Sly: What is the Role of the CIO?
AEMO chief information officer Susan Sly calls for more collaboration among Australia's technology leaders at the CIO Strategy Summit.
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Finance CIO of the Year
Credit Union Australia's David Gee awarded Finance CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards.
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Retail CIO of the Year
Damon Rees named Retail CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Woolworths.
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Robyn Elliott named the 2014 Utilities CIO of the Year
Acting Foxtel CIO David Marks accepts an iTnews Benchmark Award on behalf of Robyn Elliott.
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Industrial CIO of the Year
Sanjay Mehta named Industrial CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at ConocoPhillips.
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Healthcare CIO of the Year
Greg Wells named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at NSW Health.
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Education CIO of the Year
William Confalonieri named Healthcare CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at Deakin University.
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
Meet the 2014 Government CIO of the Year
David Johnson named Government CIO of the Year at the iTnews Benchmark Awards for his work at the Queensland Police Service.
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Q and A: Coalition Broadband Policy
Malcolm Turnbull and Tony Abbott discuss the Coalition's broadband policy with the press.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
AFP scalps hacker 'leader' inside Australia's IT ranks.
The Australian Federal Police have arrested a Sydney-based IT security professional for hacking a government website.
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
NBN Petition Delivered To Turnbull's Office
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO: IT teams of the future
UTS CIO Chrissy Burns talks data.
New UTS Building: the IT within
New UTS Building: the IT within
The IT behind tomorrow's universities.
iTnews' NBN Panel
iTnews' NBN Panel
Is your enterprise NBN-ready?
Introducing iTnews Labs
Introducing iTnews Labs
See a timelapse of the iTnews labs being unboxed, set up and switched on! iTnews will produce independent testing of the latest enterprise software to hit the market after installing a purpose-built test lab in Sydney. Watch the installation of two DL380p servers, two HP StoreVirtual 4330 storage arrays and two HP ProCurve 2920 switches.
The True Cost of BYOD
The True Cost of BYOD
iTnews' Brett Winterford gives attendees of the first 'Touch Tomorrow' event in Brisbane a brief look at his research into enterprise mobility. What are the use cases and how can they be quantified? What price should you expect to pay for securing mobile access to corporate applications? What's coming around the corner?
Ghost clouds
Ghost clouds
ACMA chair Chris Chapman says there is uncertainty over whether certain classes of cloud service providers are caught by regulations.
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Was the Snowden leak inevitable?
Privacy experts David Vaile (UNSW Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre) and Craig Scroggie (CEO, NextDC) claim they were not surprised by the Snowden leaks about the NSA's PRISM program.
Latest Comments
Polls
Which bank is most likely to suffer an RBS-style meltdown?





   |   View results
ANZ
  21%
 
Bankwest
  9%
 
CommBank
  11%
 
National Australia Bank
  17%
 
Suncorp
  24%
 
Westpac
  19%
TOTAL VOTES: 1445

Vote