Australian law, Google tech, and copyright infringement, a tale told

On Monday, computer whizzes at Google announced a new program designed to automatically mark copyrighted material, such as TV shows, movies, and music tracks, as copyright-protected. The program, which may soon be rolled out…

Australian law, Google tech, and copyright infringement, a tale told

On Monday, computer whizzes at Google announced a new program designed to automatically mark copyrighted material, such as TV shows, movies, and music tracks, as copyright-protected. The program, which may soon be rolled out in Google apps and services, should arrive in time for the 2017 Emmy Awards. At the time, John Lempkowicz, who called the program a “robbery,” said Google had captured a trove of personal data about him and his friends. (Both he and Lempkowicz were upset when Hollywood bosses were unable to digitize the data before they made their announcements.)

The news caused confusion and inconvenience, according to Google. But the firm brushed it off.

We all get copyrighted stuff, but we pay to get it, argues the firm’s legal executive, Alan Davidson. “The use of search engine algorithms to better protect content owners’ interests will not take away the benefits consumers derive from access to digital content at low prices.”

In a separate but related news, an article in the Washington Post on Monday showed how Australians deal with copyright-protection laws. Article 13, which has been introduced to Australia’s parliament, would prevent Australians from unlocking smartphones.

The activists who want to keep Australians from being locked out of their smartphones report that 5,300 of them have already taken the legal trouble to overturn the policy, part of a battle that has lasted over a decade. However, the Australian government in 2015 put off finalizing the text of Article 13.

The Turnbull government’s proposed law, if passed, will allow you to unlock smartphones, but only if you bought the phone and are sending its data through the Australian government.

Americans, it seems, are more tolerant of copyright-protection policies than many Australians. According to a May 2015 survey by Pew Research Center, 57% of Americans feel the US government has done too little to protect intellectual property. In comparison, Australia (31%) and New Zealand (12%) are more on the spectrum of those who think the government has done too much.

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