The three-strikes rule is cost prohibitive but piracy still lags

Enforcement of copyright law in Australia hits a roadblock as studios and ISPs scrap the three strikes code for being cost prohibitive.

The so-called three strikes code, an anti-piracy measure submitted for consideration by the Australian Communications and Media Authority in April 2015, has been declared cost prohibitive by industry leaders, according to the Australian Computer Society. This signals uncertainty about the future of enforcing copyright law in Australia.

Three strikes code scrapped

The three strikes code would allow studios to require internet service providers to issue warnings to users suspected of infringing copyright. After three warnings in a 12-month period, legal action could be taken against the user.

The three strikes code faltered since its proposal with key points remaining unsettled as a September 2015 deadline passed; it is now all but officially dead.

One of the biggest issues with the code is the cost involved with issuing the notices, according to Graham Burke, co-CEO of Village Roadshow, in a report by CNET.

"It's just so labour intense, that it's somewhere in the vicinity of $16 to $20 per notice, which is prohibitive. You might as well give people a DVD," said Mr. Burke.

"We reached the conclusion after having an independent audit firm evaluate the cost of sending out the notices, and we concluded that it was too much of an imposition to ask the ISPs, and also from our own point of view, the amount it would cost,"

Piracy is down, code or not

Even without the three-strikes code, studios can breathe a sigh of relief; piracy rates in Australia are decreasing. A report released by the IP Awareness Foundation showed that pirating activity in 2015 was down for nearly every demographic, including a 3 per cent drop among the most active downloaders.

One of the most significant causes for this decline is the wider availability of legal content through services like Netflix. As people are more able to get the content they want legally, fewer turn to piracy; a trend that will play a large role in the future of intellectual property law in Australia.