Sabiene Heindl might be about to leave her role as the general manager of Music Industry Piracy Investigations and spokesperson for the Australian Content Industry Group for a high-flying career at the National Broadband Network Company, but the anti-piracy campaigner just can’t stop enthusing about content protection.
In an opinion piece published this morning by The Australian, Heindl — who has long led the music industry’s anti-piracy taskforce in Australia — argues that a recent deal signed between US Internet service providers and film, TV and music studios is a positive for everyone. Writes Heindl:
“The significance of the US agreement cannot be overstated. It has proved wrong all those people who thought the content industries and the ISPs could never come to a voluntary agreement in a market as big and as complex as the US … There need not be a winner or loser. Everyone can benefit from this.”
Now Heindl’s got a point. At the end of the day, most consumers basically want a moderately priced and convenient way to access all of the content they want (regardless of where it was created or who owns it), whenever they want, and in a format that will suit them. If ISPs, content owners and platform providers like Apple, Microsoft and Google can work together on a solution to this issue, everyone can win. Content owners can get paid a fair amount for their work, ISPs won’t get sued constantly for traffic passing over their networks, and consumers can consume at their leisure.
However, the content industry hasn’t exactly given Australia’s consumers or ISPs a great deal of confidence recently that negotiation can achieve the right outcomes.
Ongoing lawsuits against major ISPs, threatening legal letters sent to both ISPs and consumers, appeals to the Federal Government to step in, region IP-blocking for services like Hulu, a lack of distribution rights for eBooks and even a failure to launch the same services in Australia as are available overseas … the content industry isn’t exactly coming to the party here.
Partnership takes effort from both sides, people — and right now, Australian consumers and ISPs aren’t feeling the love from big content.