BBC takes strong line on Australian online pirates

Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman in Sydney, Australia Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Stars of Doctor Who have been in Australia promoting the new series as some fans attempted to illegally download episodes

The BBC's commercial arm BBC Worldwide has said that ISPs should do more to combat online piracy.

Responding to a review of online piracy policy by the Australian government it said that ISPs should be alert to "suspicious behaviour" among their customers.

It revealed that 13,000 Australians attempted to get hold of illegal copies of the new series of Doctor Who via file-sharing services.

It said decisive action was needed.

The BBC went further than many rights holders have previously done, suggesting that ISPs should keep an eye on customers' usage habits.

"It is reasonable for ISPs to be placed under an obligation to identify users' behaviour that is 'suspicious' and indicative of a user engaging in conduct that infringes copyright," it said.

This includes the use of virtual private networks that can route connections through the UK and allow users to watch iPlayer services that are unavailable in Australia.

"Effective and decisive action is urgently needed to address the rising tide of online copyright infringement," it wrote in its submission.

It said that it supported a campaign to educate users but did not rule out tougher measures such as slowing down a repeat offender's internet connection.

"BBC Worldwide supports the introduction of a co-operative scheme whereby both content owners and internet service providers share in the responsibility to reduce and eliminate online copyright infringement," it said.

"ISPs should warn any alleged copyright infringers through a graduated notification system that what they are doing is illegal and, at the same time, educate them about the law.

"If consumers do not abide by the notifications then more serious action may need to be taken," it added.

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