The Communications Alliance has advised that a new code of practice for dealing with internet piracy in Australia has today been submitted to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for registration.The code – developed by ISPs, consumer representatives and a broad alliance of rights holders – comes in the wake of the Federal Court of Australia yesterday ordering iiNet, along with a number of other Australian ISPs, hand over the details of customers alleged to have shared the film Dallas Buyers Club online.

Following consideration of more than 370 public submissions received in response to a call for public comment on an initial draft code in February and March, the Copyright Notice Scheme Code 2015 has been published by the Communications Alliance.

Under the code, ISPs will accept notices from rights holders, identifying IP addresses the rights holder alleges have been used to infringe its copyright.

Residential fixed-line internet users alleged to have infringed copyright will receive an escalating series of notices, comprising an education notice, a warning notice and a final notice over a 12-month period.

After the final notice has been sent within 12 months of the education notice being sent, the code states any rights holder named in any of the notices will be provided with assistance to take direct copyright infringement action against an account holder.

“The scheme has a strong emphasis on public education and does not contain explicit sanctions against internet users, but does provide for a ‘facilitated preliminary discovery’ process through which ISPs can assist rights holders who may decide to take legal action against persistent infringers,” the Communications Alliance stated.

“The scheme contains strong safeguards against any threat to the privacy of internet users and allows an account holder who receives three infringement notices in a 12-month period to have the validity of the allegations independently reviewed.”

ACMA will now consider whether to register the code, which will apply to approximately the largest 70 Australian ISPs.

“There are still some commercial details, including elements of the scheme funding arrangements, to be finalised, and the finished product must meet the approval of the ACMA, but all stakeholders believe that the code can be an important tool toward the shared objective of reducing online copyright infringement in Australia,” Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton stated.

Operation of the code and the notice scheme are not affected in any way by the court decision on preliminary discovery in the Dallas Buyers Club case, the Communications Alliance stated.

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