Village Roadshow boosts donations amidst copyright crackdown

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Village Roadshow boosts donations amidst copyright crackdown

AEC lists contributions to political parties.


Village Roadshow significantly increased its donations to political parties over the past year as the Government works to crack down on online copyright infringement.

The media behemoth donated $329,919 to the Liberal Party in the 2013-14 financial year, a 20 percent increase on the $275,804 it donated to the Liberal Party in the 2012-13 financial year. 

It also donated $227,500 to Labor in 2013-14, well above the $22,000 it offered to Labor in the previosu year, according to the Australian Electoral Commission's annual donations discloure.

Village Roadshow has been in the headlines over the past year as a vocal advocate for the federal government's plan to stamp out online copyright infringement, particularly for films.

iTnews makes no suggestion of any impropriety relating to donors and the political parties involved.

Just before Christmas, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Attorney-General George Brandis warned internet service providers they would need to agree on an industry code for tackling online copyright infringement by April next year or have one forced upon them.

The process would need to involve a customer notice scheme where users suspected of infringing copyright were contacted and advised on how to access legitimate content with 120 days. Rights holders and ISPs were asked to share the costs of the scheme, the ministers said.

Cost has historically been a sore point for both sides of the copyright debate and was the main factor contributing to the breakdown of discussions around a similar notice scheme in 2012.

The Government also decided late last year to introduce new legislation allowing rights holders to apply for court orders forcing ISPs to block access to non-Australian websites facilitating copyright infringement.

MacTel takes top IT donor spot

Macquarie Telecom once again topped the list for political donations from technology companies, handing over $49,500 to the Liberal Party, $48,500 to the ALP, and $25,000 to the Greens in the last financial year.

The figures are a lot lower than its previous year’s donations, which came in at $126,633 to Labor and $50,000 to the Liberals.

SingTel Optus donated $41,325 to the Liberal Party and $27,500 to Labor, while Queensland-based enterprise software vendor TechnologyOne paid $31,225 to the Liberals and $1000 to Labor.

Data centre and telecommunications provider Vocus donated $44,000 to the Liberal Party, and NT-based IT service provider Vertical Technology Group gave $20,000 to the Country Liberals.

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