More accessible content won’t stop piracy, says content industry


news Creative Content Australia (CCA) – a film and TV industry advocacy group – has aired concerns over a new draft report from the Productivity Commission that suggests making content more accessible will reduce online piracy.

CCA said that, on initial reading, the near 600-page draft report on Intellectual Property Arrangements throws up some “immediate concerns” about how these recommendations would affect consumers, content creators and the development of a sustainable digital economy in Australia.

Of particular issue is the suggestion that more accessible content is the key to reducing online copyright infringement, rather than increasing enforcement efforts or penalties.

“We know this to be untrue,” said Lori Flekser, Executive Director at CCA.

Flekser said that annual independent research commissioned by CCA since 2008 has “consistently and unequivocally reflected the key reason for piracy: because it’s free”.

She added that her organisation’s finding reflects international research, as well as an Australian Government study in 2015, where 55% of respondents confirmed that they downloaded or streamed infringing content because “it’s free”.

Flekser suggested that, despite the increase in legal content-providing services in Australia and a reduction in the cost of content, it is the awareness of legal initiatives such as the Copyright Infringement Bill 2015, rather than the availability of content, that is the main reason for people abstaining from copyright infringement.

CCA backed up that statement with the statistic that the awareness of legal initiatives was cited by 53% of “pirates” who have stopped or reduced their activity (GfK Retail Tracking and ConsumerScope study 2015).

The organisation also provided the example of the first episode of Game of Thrones Season 6, which premiered on April 25 in Australia, saying it was made available at a “reasonable cost” and at the same time as the rest of the world.

Despite that, illegal downloads of the show from Australian visitors topped the charts at the BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing site – reaching 12.5% of the total in the 12 hours after its official airing.

“I consider the cost – around the cost of two or three cups of coffee – a fair price to pay for an hour of this popular culture phenomenon, which costs in excess of US$6 million per episode to make,” said Flekser.

“Access and price are not viable arguments in this case, yet more than 100,000 Australians chose illegal websites to watch episode 1 of Game of Thrones Season 6,” she added.

Further, according to CCA, evidence shows that film piracy peaks when DVD, Blu-ray and SVOD versions are released and that it isn’t only the international industry that is affected – Australian film Mad Max: Fury Road was illegally downloaded 36.6 million times in 2015.

CCA argued that strong copyright laws “ensure the vibrancy and growth of the creative sector which in turn contributes to the economy, provides growth and stimulates local culture”.

“Copyright facilitates innovation rather than hindering it,” it concluded.

According to its mission statement, Creative Content Australia (previously the IP Awareness Foundation) is the film and television industries’ peak body for the promotion of copyright, creative rights, piracy research and education resources.


  1. Hmm I’d have to disagree and agree with their findings.
    If you take a look at Steam and how it has dramatically reduced piracy in many countries, but it has the advantage of being easily accessible and at a reasonable cost (and extremely cheap in sales times).
    It needs a combination of both, and I think Aussies are just really p!ssed off at being ripped off for so many years.

  2. perhaps if we all had fibre internet with unlimited data and Murdoch stopped stealing the rights to everything things might change.

  3. I think they misunderstand what the point many people make about accessibility.

    The claim isn’t that all piracy will end the moment the content is made accessible and affordable, it is that piracy rates will drop, as we have seen with things like Steam and iTunes, make the content accessible and affordable and the rates will drop.

    The only time I have pirated a game in the last 10 years, was Skyrim Legendary edition because I missed it on the Steam sale, but then picked it up a few days later in the Humble Store on sale for the same price as it was on sale for on Steam.

    I’d have otherwise just waited until it was on sale again on Steam, because having all my games in one large library is just too convenient.

    • +1

      It always amuses me when the content industry loves to parade this logical fallacy argument. It’s the same as “having a healthy lifestyle won’t stop diseases”, “reducing gun ownership won’t remove gun crimes”, etc.

      The whole point is you will NEVER 100% remove criminal/unwanted acts as there will always be a subset of society who just do not care about following societies social norms and laws. What you can do however is try and prevent/reduce such occurences by reducing the cause

      Sure being “healthy” may not remove diseases but it also increases the chances you are more likely to avoid most bugs and disease, having control on firearms means less chances of a random altercation w/ a person ending in a shoot out, etc.

      Allowing global and easy access to products means someone will buy the product at say iTunes, Amazon or stream at Netflix instead of resorting to illegally download the damned thing!

      • Hmph! I’ve just signed up to NetFlix, doing it the yokel’s way (by not bothering to evade geo-blocking). We have a list of 16 programs, and I thought I’ll do The Right Thing.

        Netflix lists ONE of the shows, Season 1 only… We’re currently downloading Season 2.

        So I thought, well, suss out some movies…

        We’ll see out the free month/3 weeks, give them our $11.99 and leave at the end of June.

        Seriously, if CCA et al want me to give them money (which, per se, I don’t really mind) they need to get current seasons/episodes out NOW, THIS MONTH, ON THIS ISLAND. And CCA wants also to remember, with Stan at $10/month and Presto at $15, I’ll still only get maybe 8 of the list of 16.

        Providing accessible content will reduce piracy. But the content WE want, not the content THEY want to dish up. Some of those shows don’t happen in Oz…

  4. The people that pirate have said over and over that what they want is accessible content at a reasonable price. The industry refuses to consider the idea for the simple reason that it means they won’t be able to make the exploitative profits they have done before by manipulating the market. Until they move off that tired mindset people will continue to pirate their content, because they are sick of being the industry’s cash cow.

    The content industry needs to get it into their heads that the genie isn’t going back in the bottle on this one. They have two choices – start acting in a reasonable manner, or watch their content be stolen. What they’d *like* isn’t relevant to the situation.

      • Price goes up to $45 too after the first 3 months for however long the lock-in contract is too.

        Maybe its Adelaide? we have it seems a $400 steak here now!

      • They are also saying that it should be 2-3 cups of coffee per episode, aka 1 hour of entertainment.

        So, they are claiming essentially that 1 episode of GoT should cost the same as going to the cinema to watch a 2-3 hour movie.

        Even if you’re going to lowball a cup of coffee to say $3 a cup, they want $6-9 per episode, or $60-90 for the season. For ONE TV show. Not for all HBO programming, for just GOT, so, they see the Foxtel price in Australia is perfectly reasonable….. Morons.

  5. In a way they’re right. I’ve paid for HBO, Hulu, and Netflix only to be subsequently banned once they discovered I was coming from Australia. Apparently my money is good enough so fuck them. The content cartel can do whatever they want. Finally pull their heads out of their arses and make content available for a reasonable price. I don’t care. They’ve burnt their bridges with me. I’m not giving them another God damn cent.

    • +1

      Personally, I’ve gotten back into gaming (with ToG* I might point out :o))

      *The Older Gamers

      • Another TOGer?! It’s been so long since I dropped in there. Since I quite WoW in fact. The memories…

      • I was in TOG for one MMO, cant remember which. I dont tend to stick around in games too long these days, very few keep my attention for more than a few weeks.

      • We’re playing Black Desert at the moment….there is a lot of depth to it and I’m only just out of the newbie zones. Has a bit of an Archeage feel, with a GW2 sub model.

  6. More accessible content won’t stop piracy, says content industry

    They would say that wouldn’t they! iTunes, Steam, Spotify, Netflix et al proves this statement to be total BS.

  7. “The organisation also provided the example of the first episode of Game of Thrones Season 6, which premiered on April 25 in Australia, saying it was made available at a “reasonable cost” ”


    I must have been in a parallel universe then because I was firmly of the belief that I had to get Foxtel, have a Sat dish installed and give upwards of $200 of my money to Mr Murdoch to make that happen.

    “Game of Thrones Season pass, only $199*, (*includes free Foxtel for four months)”

    I doubt anyone would complain at spending $2 an episode to watch it legally without foxtel, and I’d be willing to bet that the content creator doesn’t see $2 of my subscription if I watch it on Foxtel.

    These guys are so dumb, if they were deploying a next generation network, they would choose a clusterf*** of different technologies that were already out of date…..

    • Not true! You can (apparently) sign up for Foxtel Play, or whatever its called, for $30 a month and watch online. At 480p, if it streams without buffering.

      They arent dumb, they’re protecting their revenue model. Some very smart people run these companies, dont think otherwise, they just dont want to invest in change while they have a captive audience.

      The audience can see the rubbish they are saying, but what can you do about it? If you want to watch something like GoT, you either play the game their way, or bend the rules. There is no middle ground, and for a lot of us thats where the issue is.

      There is ONE way to legally watch the most popular show in the world when its aired. One, in this day and age, where there is subscription TV, VOD, iTunes, and free to air. Probably missing some there.

      Thats monopolistic.

  8. They miss the fact that ‘reasonable’ accessibility & price are set by the market – not themselves.

    • Went into JB HiFi yesterday, was looking at blu rays. Did you know the shelf price for Inside Out is $45? For just the blu ray. Not 3D, no DVD or digital copy, just the blu ray.

      Thats a little out of whack with expectations for a year old movie…

      • Thats a little out of whack with expectations for a year old movie…

        Not wrong, I would want to pay more than $20 for a single movie. For $45 I’d expect a boxed set.

  9. It’s interesting – and wholly unremarkable – that they think they can counter claims that ‘accessible’ content will reduce piracy, by saying that ‘accessible content won’t stop piracy’.

    Way to say nothing new at all while pretending to be providing a counter. Useless arseholes.

    *for those who missed it, reduce and stop are different words

    • Indeed, nothing will ever truly stop copyright infringement. Most other content industries have realised this and merely made things so available and affordable that only the die-hard bother (who likely do it just to do it out of a challenge).

  10. So the CCA are a mouthpiece for the content industry. The same content industry that has a vested interest in legal avenues for damaging piracy.

    As the old adage goes. Follow the money.

    Interestingly, I don’t think the report shows what the CCA are saying.

    Some interesting findings in there.

    “For each content type, those who consumed a mix of legal and illegal content
    spent more money over a 3 month period than those who consumed 100% of
    their content legally, but those who consumed 100% of their content illegally
    spent the least money”
    Makes sense. Those who do 100% illegal, are the diehards. Those who mix it up, are looking for content they can’t get/afford.

    “The highest spend on individual digital purchases was for music ($131m) and
    video games ($106m), with lower levels for TV programmes ($48m) and movies
    Again, makes sense, with multiple digital sources available, music and games are the most accessible.

    “At the 69c price point there was no difference by age in willingness to pay, but as the price increases
    younger music consumers become less willing to pay than older music
    consumers: 2 in 10 16-24 year olds (20%) are willing to pay $2.19 per track
    compared with nearly half (44%) of those aged 55+. ”
    Yep, again makes sense, older people have more disposable income, and tend to be more discerning, so they pay more for what they want, whilst younger people tend to be a little more willing to experiment with other music and have less to do it with. (Generally)

    “Ease/convenience” was the most common motivator for downloading or
    streaming content (71%). This was more likely among males (73% compared
    with 68% for females), and decreased with age from 80% among 16-24 year olds
    to 62% of those aged 55+.
     Speed (i.e. “it’s quicker”) was also cited by a majority (57%) of respondents,
    while for half (50%) the cost (i.e. “it’s cheaper”) was a reason for downloading
    or streaming content. Speed was most important for 16-24 year olds (71%) and
    least important for those aged 45-54 (47%) or 55+ (50%).

    So pretty much what we have all been saying, and completely against what CCA are saying.

    Yes there are a group who want stuff free, and a hardcore group who will pirate no matter what.

    And this “She added that her organisation’s finding reflects international research, as well as an Australian Government study in 2015, where 55% of respondents confirmed that they downloaded or streamed infringing content because “it’s free”.”
    Whilst true, is not the only defining factor. “Easy/Convenient” was almost as high at 51% and “It’s Quick” was 45%. And more importantly it was a tick all the boxes question, with the average number selected from the list being 4.

    And topping on the cake.
    “A reduction in cost for legal services was the most commonly cited factor that
    would encourage people to stop infringing (39% of infringers), closely followed
    by legal content being more available (38%) and being available as soon as it is
    released elsewhere (36%).”
    “The prospect of getting caught would encourage 2 in 10 infringers (20%) to stop,
    rising to 23% if they thought they might get sued.”

    My reading of that report says exactly what most are saying. Make the content available and cheaper, and you will reduce most of the incentives to pirate.
    Enforcement whilst significant, is actually not as much of a deter-ant as the availability and cost.

    • Enforcement may be less effective at reducing piracy, but most importantly for the content industry, the costs of enforcement are borne by others, whereas the cost of price reductions comes out of their bottom line.

      Of course, the fact they might be able to sell 10 million copies at $5 each, rather than 1 million at $20 with 9 million copies pirated, doesn’t figure in their thinking…

      • Hence… follow the money… Lol…

        But yeah, they want all the pie and don’t want to share it, even if it means they get a smaller pie overall. Stupid.

        • They are apparently operating on the “restrict supply, boost prices” economic model which is quite counter productive.

          If instead they operated on the “increase supply @ lower prices and sell lots more copies” they’d prolly make more money – after all digital distribution is insanely cheap once you have the infrastructure in-place.

          • Dont be silly. If you can sell 100 pies at $10 each, you make $1000. So why sell 300 pies at $5 each, you’re only getting half the money per pie!!!

            Oh, wait…

      • The copies pirated does figure into some of the major players’ thinking, but really, how much do they care? Does HBO care? Foxtel is paying HBO quite a bit of a premium for the exclusive Australian broadcast rights, so HBO doesn’t have to do work of making new deals. Foxtel has over 2 million subscribers. If HBO is making less than $10 million from Foxtel for GoT, you’re right, HBO (or its shareholders) should be caring. Foxtel didn’t care because it’s been getting a 75% increase in customers year on year, maybe due to exclusive deals with companies like HBO. Maybe that could be a greater increase if piracy was stopped? But Foxtel really only cares because it’s defending its previously monopolistic cost structure.

    • And even if you can manage to connect to Foxtel Play, who the hell wants to spend $90 on a low def stream when you can wait a year and get a $41 blu-ray box set?

      • I have paid access to HBO Go (via smart DNS) but it’s not watchable on my crappy ADSL connection when my kids are watching NetFlix so I download it too.

        Downloading it has the other benefit of me being able to sync it to my iPad from my Plex Media Server and watch it on the train. Legal options dont allow this and require me to use expensive mobile data.

  11. Game of Thrones season 6 has started?!? Damn, I didn’t have it in my calendar.

    Thanks for the heads-up, where can I buy the first three episodes to watch tonight?

  12. Wall of text incoming. TLDR version, Content = $0 access = $$

    The movie and TV industry had their chance and blow it. There was time between watching what was happening to the music industry and it happening to the rest of the content industry and that was the time to start acting. The games industry got it right. I don’t think the TV movie industry could have done the same but that is based on their own short-sightedness and past behaviour. The music industry was bleeding revenue to napster and all they did about was bleat on about stopping piracy without looking at the issue. At the time MP3 became popular it was becoming kind of hard to get your music of the CD you paid for on to your device(hello DRM) enters napster now it is easy to get all that music in a format that works on the device you want to use it on and they were first to market only problem they weren’t charging the users for this service. So now you have a lot of people who suddenly care more about how convenient your content is to get to the device they want and no longer place a dollar value on that content. Apple steps in and what the music industry (and most content industries failed to realise) is that what Apple actually sold wasn’t the content it was the ease of access to the content. Now Apple wasn’t in the music industry, they didn’t make music they didn’t distribute music they just had lot of hardware customers who want an easier way to use their product. The music industry had the content the distribution but where too busy screaming piracy without looking at the real reason people started using napster (here’s a hint it wasn’t price). So now we have a whole generation of music users who don’t value the content only how they get access to it and paying to get access to it is what they pay.

    Now there was a period of time while this was going before it realy started to affect the other content industries. Enter Valve unlike apple they had some content and that content hadn’t been devalued yet. They created steam and managed to get a signifcant part of their industry on board before the value of the content got devalued to nothing. They also realised that people are paying for how they access the content and not just the content itself so they have also built a host of other features that improve on that access experience and have continued to improve it. I’ve used steam for a long time I’m paying for easy access to the content I want not for the content. I’m not losing access to that content through obsolescence either. I have a new tablet computer as device not available when I first started using steam I can still get easy access to all my content on that device. Mini computer on my TV don’t need lug my games PC into the lounge because I can easily access that content thanks to the continual improvements in steam.

    Now the TV and movie industry could have done the same but I don’t think it was ever going to happen. They did the same thing as the music industry and still are which is bleat on about piracy without addressing the reasons why people started pirating content on mass. Only a fool would do the same thing and expect a different result. The number one reason this wouldn’t have happened is like the music industry the TV and Movie industry all hate each other and will take sides and ensure revenue flows to their side. It happened with the VHS/Betamax wars something happened to a lesser degree with DVD and other optical formats and the same thing happened with blue-ray and HD-DVD. Based on past experiences the same thing would have happened with whatever they did to address this issue only catch is this time they wouldn’t have had 5+ years to short their shit out. In step Netflix a company that was selling easy access to the content (sound familiar). Netflix continued to improve the way their users could access the content. By the time the industry jumped on board the value of the content was essentially zero and now all we are willing to pay for is the access.

    So TV and Movie industry the value of your content is zero and trying to restrict access to it isn’t going to increase its value all you do is sell convenient access and as long as it is more convenient or offers a better experience than the alternative people are willing to pay.

    I don’t pay for content and haven’t for a vary long time but I’m pay for conventialy access all the time.

  13. Nothing justifies the headline in the CCA’s brain dump of arguments. It is hardly a reasoned point of view to distort survey findings in that way. Please!!! I don’t even watch TV or movies, and I certainly don’t download them, but this article gave me such brain cancer it’s terminal!!!

    Let’s think about this. There are 10 hours of GoT per season, and at $4/coffee, and 2-3 cups of coffee per hour, she’s saying that $120 is a reasonable cost. Plus there is the hassle of not only subscribing, but then ending the subscription at the end of the season (reportedly you can cancel via the website). However, in the US, HBO thinks it’s worth US$15/month. For some reason, it’s reasonable to charge Australians MORE THAN TRIPLE the cost. For content that is already created, already paid for… once it gets to this market it’s pure profit. It’s not like they are dubbing the voices in an Aussie accent or doing anything for Australians other than allowing Foxtel to overcharge Aussies.

    I think the view above would be reasonable if Foxtel had a $15/month GoT plan, where you only get the right to stream GoT. But Foxtel doesn’t do that. Foxtel only wants to use GoT as a way to attract more subscribers. I didn’t find a single one of the arguments given above to have validity. Just repeating a brainstorm, one which intentionally disregards all evidence to the contrary, is quite disappointing to read.

  14. They’re not wrong. A large amount of people will continue to “illegally” download or stream content simply because free is free.

    The way the content producers and distributors see it is that at least the way things are currently they can charge the people who are willing to pay what it’s actually worth rather than dropping the price, devaluing the product and losing money only to have a few more people actually pay.

    • Do people realise that in days gone by, the situation was no different? When driveins where popular in the 50’s and 60’s, it was common to hide a few people in the boot or back seat, and for 100 years kids have been distracting the usher while others snuck into the cinema for free.

      Someone will always want the free ride. Thats not where this problem gets solved, its that middle ground where convenience is the path that gets followed. And overpriced products arent convenient, neither is hiding content behind walls. iTunes showed the Napster model had a real place in the world, and Steam showed that DRM didnt need the D to stand for Draconian. So why is it so hard for the industry to get behind making access a priority now?

      Even when they try something, you still see content hidden behind 2 or 3 options, meaning more cost and less convenience. Making other convenience a factor.

      With games, you only ever hear about Steam, rarely Origin, and with music its generally Apple of Spotify, and hardly anyone else. Because they have by far any away the biggest libraries, making them the most convenient.

      • Actually Apple Store and Android Store are technically bigger than Steam in regards to gaming.

        The Mobile Platform is the biggest platform out there at the moment, with the greatest potential reach as well.

        But if you break it down

        Mobile – Apple Store, Android Store (Windows store exists as well)
        PC – Steam (Origin, GoG, Desura, Amazon, Direct2Drive, Windows Live)
        Console – Playstation Store, Windows Live

        Steam does dominate PC, but you ignore the others at your peril. The console market ignored or paid lip service to the PC, and now they have lost to Steam. It wouldn’t be hard for the same to happen to Steam at some point.

        • Fair point, I was thinking from a PC perspective, specifically how Steam turned PC piracy around so fast. Its a lesson that if you do it right, it gives reasons for the consumer to co-operate with the system.

          Napster was illegal, we all know that. But when iTunes did the exact same thing, and charged a convenient amount, they changed the game overnight. Steam took a couple of years to get things right, but it got there and now look at it.

          End of the day, all the examples listed have something in common. They didnt put blockers in the way. If anything, they took blockers away, and were rewarded for it with market share, whether thats specific to a market, or the industry itself.

          Video is on the cusp of the same, and while lessons have been learnt, the result has been to scramble against each other and ultimately miss the point of convenience.

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