Google issues warning on Australia's proposed Internet rules

Internet search giant Google warned that proposed changes to Australia's copyright laws could drive the country back to 'the pre-Internet era,' an AFP report said.

The AFP report said the warning came in a submission to Australia's senate on legislation that Google claimed could open the way for copyright owners to take legal action against search engines for caching and archiving.

'Given the vast size of the Internet, it is impossible for a search engine to contact personally each owner of a web page to determine whether the owner desires its web page to be searched, indexed or cached,' an official of Google was quoted as saying.

'If such advanced permission was required, the Internet would promptly grind to a halt,' Google's senior counsel and head of public policy Andrew McLaughlin told the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee.

Such requirements would 'condemn the Australian public to the pre-Internet era and will place them at a serious competitive disadvantage with those in other countries who have such access,' McLaughlin was further quoted as saying..

The Australian government says the new laws are designed to keep up with the fast pace of technological change, but McLaughlin said they failed to take into account the reality of how information was processed and provided online.

Google has been locked in copyright disputes with several content providers globally, including Agence France-Presse, who have complained the Internet giant had used their material without permission or compensation, the report said.