Legal content does not stop pirates

Big Content has poured cold water on shedloads of studies that suggest that the more legal content there is out there, at a reasonable cost, the less likely people are to pirate.

Australia’s Federation Against Copyright Theft said people will continue to illegally download copyrighted material despite the availability of local, legal access to that material.

Neil Gane, managing director for the film industry group, told IT News  that piracy was inevitable and there needed to be changes in the law to discourage it.

Speaking at a University of Melbourne seminar, he suggested that Australians may be drawn to piracy if movies or TV episodes screened later in Australia than overseas.

He said that the fact that the popular TV series Game of Thrones, was heavily downloaded in Australia proved his point.

Viewers were no longer content to wait for the show to air in Australia about a week after it aired in the US.

AFACT stakeholders thought it unreasonable that pirates were unwilling to wait.

Gane claimed that there were legal services, and discussions around further availability but content pirates would continue to engage in illegal downloading because it is free.

He quoted from unreleased research commissioned by the Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation (IPAF) showing that 86 percent of persistent downloaders and 74 percent of casual downloaders engaged in illegal downloading because of cost.

More than 75 percent of people were aware of legal downloading services, the researchers found.

It is worthwhile pointing out that the survey has not been released yet and Big Content is notorious for putting spin on such surveys.

The cost of legitimate product is a major issue in places where salaries are low and the cost of the content is not adjusted.

IPAF publicly notes support for AFACT on its website and includes the federation’s US sponsor, the Motion Picture Association of America, on its board of members among other rights holders. These are the people who consistently overstate the cost of piracy to business.

Gane argued that the law had not kept up with the rapid cycle of technological change.

While many people might agree with that, Big Content’s argument that government’s should lock up people on the flimsiest of evidence while it has to make no changes to its business model is also bogus.

Instead of releasing popular programs in different places, studios need to release them worldwide at the same time. Where this is impossible, they should accept that they are going to get pirated. Instead of releasing content at a single price they should look at regional pricing and police it with language dubbing.