Australian Government Targets Gamers

video-game-ban
Stephen Conroy the Australian Communications Minister, has been nominated by the British ISP industry for its annual “internet villain” award. Senator Conroy was nominated for the annual internet villain award “for continuing to promote network-level blocking despite significant national and international opposition”.

He is really living up to this title as this week it has become apparent that the Government has now set its sights on gamers, promising to use its internet censorship regime to block websites hosting and selling video games that are not suitable for 15 year olds. Australia is the only developed country without an R18+ classification for games, meaning any titles that do not meet the MA15+ standard – such as those with excessive violence or sexual content – are simply banned from sale by the Classification Board, unless they are modified to remove the offending content. This is incredibly backward in my opinion, Austalia should be ploughing on and making steps to remedy this problem rather than embracing some fascist censorship regime.

The average age of gamers is 30 in Australia, according to research commissioned by the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia, this means that even Australians who are aged above 15 and want to obtain the adult-level games online will be unable to do so.

Mark Newton, an ISP engineer and internet filtering critic, said the move to extend the filtering to computer games would place a cloud over online-only games such as World of Warcraft and Second Life, which aren’t classified in Australia due to their online nature  www.smh.com.au

End Software Patents Australia

endsoftwarepatents
Recently I received an email Ciarán O’Riordan about his work on FSF’s End Software Patents campaign. I think its wonderful that we have people working on that and helping us in Australia. For people who care about this issue please make contact with Ciarán O’Riordan and check out the wiki. Thanks for allowing me to publish the email below.

Hi,

I found your email address from groups.fsf.org/wiki/User:Chrismo (and a bit
of searching 🙂

I’m working on FSF’s End Software Patents campaign and am building a wiki
for anti-software-patent campaigns:
http://en.swpat.org

Gathering local info is pretty hard though. This week I’m focussing on
Australia, so if you know of any info/websites/stories about what’s
happening or what’s happened there, it’d be great if you could add it here:
http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Australia

I’ve found two interesting organisations digital.org.au and EFA, but if you
could point me towards other active (or potentially active) groups that care
about digital freedom or SMEs or software market competition, that would be
very useful so I could get in contact with them.

Thanks.

Ciarán O’Riordan, +32 487 64 17 54, http://ciaran.compsoc.com/

Software patents wiki: http://en.swpat.org/
End Software Patents: http://www.EndSoftwarePatents.org/

Donate: http://endsoftwarepatents.org/donate
List: http://campaigns.fsf.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/esp-action-alert

Digital Britain

Digital-Britain-logo-001
The UK culture secretary, Andy Burnham, said today that the government intends to acquire powers to apply “technical measures” to crack down on persistent illegal filesharers on the internet. The Digital Britain report is due to be released later this month, according to Burnham any solution is likely to involve a requirement that internet service providers (ISPs) notify users caught stealing digital content.

Speaking at a Music Week conference about monetising digital music, Burnham said any new legislation would be overseen by Ofcom. Geoff Taylor, chief executive of the British Phonographic Industry, has welcomed the promise of legislation, but said it must go further than forcing ISPs to send educational letters and should be backed up by measures to steer persistent illegal filesharers towards legitimate online services.

Unlawful downloading still accounts for 95% of online purchases, the Pirate Bay website is used by 25 million people around the world – including millions of Britons. It argues that it does not break the law because no copyright content is hosted on its servers; instead, it hosts “torrent” links to TV, film and music files held on users’ computers. Record companies, which claim that illegal file-sharing has cost them billions of pounds in lost revenue, argue that new music will suffer if people continue to download without paying.

Some artists release their music under creative commons licences, take a look at Jamendo. You probably won’t have heard of them, but there might be something you like.