Three strikes laws do not deter content piracy

Three strikes laws introduced to stop content piracy do not work, according to a report from Monash University.

Graduated response laws introduced to reduce internet-borne copyright infringement were largely useless and did not help make users buy legitimate sources of content.

Rebecca Giblin at Monash University’s Faculty of Law could find no connection between three strikes laws and reduced piracy.

In a report published by Australian Policy Online, Giblin said that if ‘effectiveness” means reducing infringement, then it is not effective.

The research was based on case studies from France, New Zealand, Taiwan, South Korea and the UK. All of these countries have enacted laws that penalise customers in some form, with fines and disconnections, for repeated infringements.

France’s HADOPI system could not identify and process the worst repeat offenders, Giblin wrote.

In New Zealand there was a shift in user behaviour. While the amount of P2P traffic fell, encrypted HTTPS data volumes saw a massive increase, which just suggests that pirates are encrypting their antics so no one can tell what they are doing.

The NZ law applies only to file-sharing via P2P networks. It can be simply bypassed by switching to other methods such as Usenet, cyberlockers, VPNs, and remote access protocols.

One of the most popular are seedboxes, which are remote servers hosted on high-speed networks in other jurisdictions, to which users can download content via Bittorrent and then directly access over an encrypted connection.

In South Korea and Taiwan, graduated response systems appear to have had very little if any impact on copyright infringing file sharing, Giblin wrote.

The Taiwanese law has been in operation for several years. There seems to be no evidence in the English language materials that any user has had their access suspended, according to Giblin.

What seems to have happened is, because the Taiwanese government brought in the law, the country was removed from the United States Trade Representative’s special watch list. This was great news for Taiwan, but it meant it really had no interest in anything more than token enforcement.