An image from CHOICE's campaign against government plans to crack down on illegal downloaders, featuring the reviled villain Joffrey from Game of Thrones
An image from CHOICE's campaign against government plans to crack down on illegal downloaders, featuring the reviled villain Joffrey from Game of Thrones

Downloading Game of Thrones could land you in court

YOUR contact details could be handed over by your internet providers, a prelude to possible court action, under a new scheme designed to battle illegal downloading.

Consumer advocates CHOICE are now rallying against the industry's so-called "education scheme" which would have people sent warnings or "notices" by telecoms when they perform an illegal download.

On their your warning, internet service providers may be forced to hand over your contact details.

Court action could then follow.

Australia leads the world in illegal downloading.

Those pirating Game of Thrones season four were actively sharing the show illegally within 12 hours of its showing in the United States.

The Game of Thrones season three finale was ripped more than 1 million times by Australians, within 24 hours of its release, according to Mumbrella.

CHOICE is warning that while the "education scheme" may have a harmless sounding name, it appears to "funnel internet users into court actions where the industry can seek unlimited amounts of money for alleged privacy".

It cites one example from the United States in which a student was ordered to pay $675,000 for downloading and sharing 30 songs.

The scheme may also "provide a way for rights holders to gain access to your internet records and personal details so they can sue you or send you a letter demanding payment", according to CHOICE.

The only way to appeal would be to pay a small fee -- about $25 -- to lodge a complaint, which would be later heard by a panel of judges chosen by the industry.

CHOICE has previously said while it does not support piracy, "illegal downloading has become commonplace because media companies have failed to keep up with changing consumer viewing habits and technology".

The group is now calling on Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to oppose the scheme, asking supporters to sign a petition and send the minister a customised "education notice" of its own.

The petition currently has 8162 signatures.

A spokesman from the Communications Alliance, which is the industry body behind the scheme, said it focused on showing people they were doing the wrong thing, rather than prosecuting them.

"We're trying to ensure privacy and that personal details are protected, that any allegation will be independently reviewed, that customers don't fact sanctions," he told News Limited.

 



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