Alan Fels and Fred Brenchley have an opinion piece on anti-circumvention laws, mod chips, the Stevens v Sony case, and the current moves to reform Australian TPM law in the Australian Financial Review today (sorry, subscribers only). A taste:

‘In essence, a wider copyright approach involving access controls would hand copyright owners extra avenues to exploit consumers, dividing markets as Sony and others do.

Attempts to cream money from booming internet transactions by various gateway devices are on the rise. Music companies, for instance, are complaining that performance societies are colluding to inflate charges for music downloads in various countries. Australian consumers, far from the major global markets, would be particularly vulnerable to any legalised access controls. The risk is that Australian consumers could be segmented out of global competitive markets.

Australia may have obligations to protect copyright owners, but it must be careful in so doing that it does not hand them a 21st century digital version of Pope Alexander’s global partition.