Australia not on Internet piracy watchlist, says Internet Australia


news Advocacy group Internet Australia has said that despite the “huffing and puffing” from Australia-based representatives of overseas content rights holders, Australia is not on the US Government’s official content piracy watchlist.

The group pointed to the Office of the United States Trade Representative’s (USTR) annual Special 301 report on the adequacy and effectiveness of its trading partners’ protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

The document reveals that Australia is not listed on either the US’s Priority Watchlist or the Watchlist.

“It’s looking suspiciously like we are being dragged into a global fight against a problem that we have very little to do with in reality,” said Laurie Patton, CEO of Internet Australia.

However, last week Australia once again topped the list of countries breaching copyright by downloading HBO’s Game of Thrones TV show from BitTorrent sites, despite it being legitimately available via local licensee Foxtel.

The Internet Australia statement follows a Productivity Commission report recommending an end to geoblocking, which it identified as one of the key reasons for people unlawfully downloading video and audio content.

Geoblocking is used to restrict access to web content and products on international websites based on users’ locations.

Karen Chester, a commissioner with the Productivity Commission, told ABC that geoblocking restrictions actually have the opposite effect of encouraging internet piracy.

“Making copyright material more accessible and more competitively priced online, and not geoblocking, is the best antidote to copyright infringement,” she said.

Patton commented: “It is abundantly clear that, to the extent that Australians are unlawfully downloading copyrighted content, it is largely because it is not available through more legitimate means.”

He went on to say there is “ample research evidence” that people are willing to pay for content if it is made accessible.

“Some surveys have shown that the people who ‘pirate’ are also among the most active legal downloaders”, he said.

Internet Australia said video streaming service Netflix has enjoyed “considerable success” since entering the Australian market last year. Further, two local content-streaming platforms, Presto and Stan, are both seeing healthy numbers of subscribers.

“This tells you that there is pent-up demand for the very content that, otherwise, is subject to unlawful downloading,” said Patton said.

Internet Australia has launched a campaign to have the current geoblocking legislation repealed using the Twitter hashtag #WeAreNotTheProblem.


  1. I have a sub to stan and animelab but i have no intention of paying for foxtell when 90% of the content i have no interest in

  2. Would I even care if Australia was on the Internet piracy watchlist? Nope, couldnt give two flaps… I have a VPN + DNS subscription, what do I care about geo blocking or piracy in Australia when I can easily bypass it all?
    Crack on with your 1974 business model.

  3. The Watch list identifies markets that exemplify global counterfeiting and piracy concerns. It’s not simply about the number of people in the country who stream or download infringing content, but identifies countries with weak IP laws or inadequate copyright protections: countries that host or legitimise counterfeit activities. This includes countries that manufacture fake drugs, or host The Pirate Bay. Australia has increasingly strong copyright laws, particularly since the introduction of site-blocking, and reasonable enforcement measures – that is why they are not on the list.

    Australians are amongst the highest per capita illegal downloaders of content. Website Torrent Freak published piracy figures for Game of Thrones just last weeks which revealed 12.5% of the show’s entire illegal downloads in the 12 hours after the show screened (simultaneously around the world) originated in Australia, a nation of just 23 million people.

    • You make a good point. Kind of exemplifies the underlying problem doesn’t it.

      The Yanks aren’t actually trying to fix the real underlying issue, they are simply trying to get everyone else to follow their onerous and ineffectual rules.

      I can’t access Torrent Freak at work, but I would be curious as to how Canada faired on the list of illegal downloaders, being that they are on the 301 list.

      Also I do need to mention that Game of Thrones is actually an outlier example. It is not only the most popular TV show around at the moment, but it is also a program that is locked into the most expensive content provider in Australia.

  4. On the subject of availability, I signed up for a Presto trial the other day. It is an abysmal slideshow of hideousness. We stream BBC iPlayer, Channel 4 On Demand and UKTV through proxies or VPNs and they are much higher quality with seamless playback and fewer buffering delays than the incompetent mess that is Presto. ABC iView is likewise a complete embarrassment – why is it only available in such shockingly low quality?

    It isn’t enough to slap some platforms together, they have to deliver the content *well*. There are a few shows we’ve downloaded over the years which air here the same day they do in the USA, all because the only way to view them in high quality like 1080p is to download them illegally.

    • Like you I too tried it recently, wow what a joke it was! We cancelled it as the app’s were unstable and the costs and conditions not all that fantastic, not foxtel play levels of fail but not too far off either.

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