The Convergence Review is seeking the public's views on five
new discussion papers to help guide its deliberations of the future
shape of Australia's media and communications sectors, with
comments due by 28 October 2011.
This sets out four options to address media diversity:
no change to current rules;
broaden the scope of cross-media rules;
retain the cross-media rules, and introduce a public interest
abolish the cross-media rules, and introduce a public interest
It also asks, among other matters:
if creeping acquisitions in the media sector are a problem for
what are the effects of exclusive rights contracts;
the possible anti-competitive aspects of bundling; and
do download caps impede access to content?
Layering, licensing and regulation
Currently the Telecommunications Act uses a layered approach to
regulation – that is, it (to a certain degree) regulates
discrete activities in a technology-neutral manner. This discussion
paper asks if this approach should be adopted across the board. How
might a layered approach to media regulation be best used?
As for licensing, the paper asks what
entities/services/functions subject to regulatory
obligations/incentives need to be licensed? When should a licence
be required to communicate?
Finally, the paper asks a raft of questions about regulation,
including different levels of, and approaches to, regulation, and
what incentives ought to be offered.
Spectrum allocation and management
The paper asks, among other things, if the Broadcasting Services
Bands are necessary either to achieve particular spectrum policy
outcomes or to maximise the overall public benefit from spectrum
assigned for the delivery of content and communications
It also asks what approaches would best serve to achieve the
outcome of maximising public benefit from use of the spectrum in
the convergent environment? What approach should be taken to the
licensing of multiplexes and multichannels for digital television
into the future? Should television broadcasters be able to sell
spectrum to other providers of multichannels? How should spectrum
used for broadcasting be priced?
Australian and local content
The paper on Australian and local content ranges across the
rules for defining Australian content, through to the quotas and
other requirements, and the investment incentives. Questions posed
Should a revised policy framework include policy measures to
promote newer forms of content?
Should Australian content rules be extended to convergent
Is the Producer Offset available to enough types of content
– and is the rebate level right?
Among other matter this paper asks:
Do the provisions in the current broadcasting codes of practice
adequately reflect community standards and expectations?
Are the current co-regulatory and self-regulatory measures
effective in broadcasting?
Is there still a need for time zone classification? and
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
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The issue of recording telephone calls was recently considered in the Federal Court in Furnari v Ziegert  FCA 1080.
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