The (digital) price is not right

Sep 28, 2012

A leading expert on intellectual property and consumer rights at The Australian National University has called for a range of legislative and regulatory changes to help stop unjustified price discrimination against Australian consumers of digital products.

Dr Matthew Rimmer from the ANU College of Law argued the case for reform in a submission to a House of Representatives Inquiry into IT pricing and in an appearance before the Committee.

"There is a growing body of evidence to show that Australian consumers are being gouged, ripped-off and exploited in respect of pricing for IT products," Dr Rimmer said.

"Australian law has failed to keep pace with , indeed copyright law has been a factor in allowing for price discrimination.

"Of equal concern is the way in which copyright law unfairly discriminates against with disabilities, creating a book famine and denying them access to knowledge.

"It is time the legislation was amended to put an end to these discriminatory practices."

Dr Rimmer urged policy makers to repeal all remaining parallel importation restrictions in order to promote consumer choice, competition and innovation and to broaden the jurisdiction of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

"As the regulator, the ACCC should build on its success investigating cases of misleading and deceptive advertising by IT companies by also considering issues of price, the terms of access to a particular product or a particular service and the need for international warranties," he said.

"In light of alleged overseas conspiracies involving price fixing by Apple Inc. and large multinational publishers, there is clearly a need for the ACCC to investigate whether there have been any such restrictive trade practices in respect of information technology products in Australia."

In addition, Dr Rimmer emphasised the importance of ensuring trade agreements, such as the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership, do not harm the interests of Australian consumers in obtaining a fair price for digital products.

"This inquiry offers legislators a valuable opportunity to implement policy solutions that put an end to discriminatory practices but it requires an integrated approach that combines , consumer law, competition law and trade law," he said.

The submission is available at works.bepress.com/matthew_rimmer/121/

Explore further: Rural loss and ruin can be avoided

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Tougher laws to smash green smoke screens

Feb 08, 2012

Law reform and tougher legal sanctions to stop greenwashing are critical, according to a leading intellectual property expert from The Australian National University.

Google could be 'gagged' by new laws: expert

Nov 07, 2006

Internet search engines such as Google could be crippled by changes to copyright law in Australia that look set to be implemented by the Federal Government, a Copyright expert from The Australian National University argues.

Google wins Australian advert case

Sep 22, 2011

Global Internet giant Google won a court case against Australia's competition regulator Thursday over claims that sponsored links at the top of its search results were misleading to consumers.

Apple to face Australian court over iPad

Mar 27, 2012

Australia said Tuesday it would take Apple to court for misleading consumers over sales of its new iPad, claiming adverts that it can connect to a 4G network was misleading.

Google loses Australian advert cases

Apr 03, 2012

Internet giant Google was Tuesday found guilty of false and misleading advertising in Australia after a court upheld an appeal by the country's competition regulator.

Recommended for you

Soccer's key role in helping migrants to adjust

2 hours ago

New research from the University of Adelaide has for the first time detailed the important role the sport of soccer has played in helping migrants to adjust to their new lives in Australia.

How dinosaurs shrank, survived and evolved into birds

4 hours ago

That starling at your birdfeeder? It is a dinosaur. The chicken on your dinner plate? Also a dinosaur. That mangy seagull scavenging for chips on the beach? Apart from being disgusting, yet again it is a ...

Children's book explores Really Big Numbers

4 hours ago

A new children's book written and illustrated by a Brown mathematics professor Richard Schwartz takes readers on a visual journal through the infinite number system. Schwartz hopes Really Big Numbers will ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

JoeBlue
1 / 5 (1) Oct 01, 2012
Price Controls and Protectionism. Nothing new here, it's old-hat for the Socialists down under..