Full Spectrum: piracy talk stalemate

Full Spectrum: piracy talk stalemate

Summary: Talks between rights holders and ISPs on how best to reduce online copyright infringement appears to have reached a stalemate.


Talks between rights holders and internet service providers (ISPs), on how best to reduce online copyright infringement, appear to have reached a stalemate.

At least, that's how iiNet's chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby sees it. Content lobby groups like the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) aren't interested in making content available quicker, easier and cheaper, he said, they just want the government to change the law. So while the government is still holding meetings between the groups, hoping for a voluntary industry policy, Dalby said that AFACT won't budge and the ISPs aren't interested in meeting content owner's demands.

In the meantime, although AFACT's managing director Neil Gane reportedly described the new season of Game of Thrones as having a "mere eight-day delay" from airing in the US to commercial availability in Australia, it will still go down as the most-infringed TV show this year, if not all time.

If eight days is close enough, does this lend weight to Gane's theory that — unlike the bottled water industry before it — content owners can't compete with free?

Full Spectrum delivers you all the latest NBN news, and keeps you up to date with the hustle and bustle of the telco industry.

Topics: Telcos, Government AU, Legal


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • To me it feels like Gane is stubbornly singing the same tune to the government because he knows that they can't ignore him, even when that song consists of lies or half truths. The fact is that while content owners can't compete with free, many people pirate not because the content is free, but because it is very convenient. If I want to legally watch game of thrones in Australia, I have to subscribe to cable tv, which I don't want to do. I want to either purchase individual episodes, or the whole season. Moreover, why do I have to wait 8 days, avoiding spoilers all over the internet, when I could download the episode off a torrent site? The fact is Australians want parity with the U.S when it comes to accessing content, and everyone world wide wants that content---paid content---to be as easily available as it is currently available via free, illegal channels. To sum up, while content owners can't compete with 'free', they can certainly compete with 'convenient'. Why don't they? http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones
    • I love how The Oatmeal has such a good habit of condensing a complex issue right down to the basics.
      Josh Taylor
    • Well said Leon81. You have it in a nutshell.
  • On the "mere eight day delay", that is a classic response from someone with no customer focus.
    It doesn't matter whether it's eight days or eight months, the consumers are saying they don't like it, to the point where they are switching across to a competitor, in their millions.
    Additionally it's not eight days, it's eight days times 10 episodes (or whatever) so the frustration is experienced by the consumer on many occasions over many weeks. It is not a one-off event.
    The studios know this, they just don't care, otherwise they'd do something about it.
  • A different perspective from someone successfully 'competing with free'...

    In general, we think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem. For example, if a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of [their] personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate’s service is more valuable. Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customers use or by creating uncertainty.

    Our goal is to create greater service value than pirates, and this has been successful enough for us that piracy is basically a non-issue for our company. For example, prior to entering the Russian market, we were told that Russia was a waste of time because everyone would pirate our products. Russia is now about to become our largest market in Europe.