NEWSFLASH! In September I will join The Conversation as its Business and Economy Editor. I have been honoured to work at The Age for the past ten years, originally alongside the legendry Tim Colebatch, and for the past four years as economics editor in my own right.

At The Conversation, my job will be to make the best thinking from Australia's 40 univerisites accessible to the widest possible audience. That means you. From the new year I will also write a weekly column.

On this site are most of the important things I have written for Fairfax and the ABC over the past few decades. I recommend the Search function. The site is a record for you, as well as me.

I'll continue to post great things from The Conversation and other places here, and also on Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why treat downloaders worse than speeding drivers?

iinet asks the question.

Some quotes from 14-page paper entitled Encouraging Legitimate Use of OnLine Content:

"Authorities regularly equate speeding as a cause of death, injury and major economic loss to the community . In spite of the seriousness of the offence, the graduated penalty structure for speeding never culminates in the total denial of access to transport."

"iiNet does not believe that termination of access for an entire household, or a business, as a result of one individual’s infringement, is ever appropriate or proportional . As with speeding infringements, speed cameras may permit the identification of a vehicle, via its registration plate, but not necessarily the identity of the driver . The owner of the vehicle has the option of accepting a fine, when notified by the appropriate body or, alternatively, can make a declaration to the authorities, identifying the driver for the issue of penalties."

"Infringements can be ranked as minor (say, single instances), major (say multiple instances of different files) or serious (at a commercial level) . Each level having prescribed penalties. Repeat infringements may require further definition – say a minimum period of one week between detections, or examples of sharing multiple files. A scale of fines can be established, relative to the economic loss represented, and demerit points could also be awarded in line with the severity of the infringements."


Here's the full thing:

Encouraging Legitimate Use of OnLine Content

HT: LifeHacker


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