Australia (where I reside) is always mentioned as a leading country that specialises in copyright infringement.
So it comes as no surprise that the latest Attorney General, George Brandis flush with lobbying dollars from Village Roadshow (Village was part of a failed court case two years ago against iiNet, in which the High Court ruled that iiNet as an ISP had not authorised copyright infringements) is pledging to do something about these “pirates”.
You see, Brandis and Village Roadshow are two such entities that have grown up with the notion that because they have made a profit out of the public for a number of years, that it is the duty of the government and the courts to guarantee that such profit remains the same in the future even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest.
If Australia does have a massive problem with piracy, one way to solve it would be to provide a legal alternative that is like “The Pirate Bay”. The evidence is right there in front of the content industries. People like to download content. So why don’t they run ads and allow people to download content for free.
Instead Village Roadshow chief Graham Burke just keeps on lashing out against Google for not doing enough to curb piracy. He lashes out at Google for not doing enough to protect his profits. He keeps on emailing the Attorney General for a graduated response scheme funded by the ISP’s even though evidence from all over the world clearly show that these schemes do not work.
On the point of prices, there is a war going on in Australia right now in relation to the prices that Australian audiences need to pay for movies, software, mp3’s, ebooks and devices. Our consumer watchdog even took the drastic step to tell Australian consumers to use a VPN so that they could alter their IP address.
The main talking point doing the rounds the last few weeks is the price of a movie ticket. In Australia, the main cinemas charge $16 to $20 a ticket while Independent cinemas are charging between the $8 to $12 price range.
Graham Burke (yep that same person mentioned above from Village Roadshow) is on fire. Check out some of his quotes;
“In Australia we pay approximately $23 an hour for our people; in America, where we operate cinemas, it’s $8 an hour.”
Umm, the last time I was at the cinema I was served by 16-year-old workers, who are earning nowhere near the $23 an hour figure. More like $15 an hour.
“It’s like going into a bookshop through the back door, and taking all the books out. It’s something that needs to be addressed and is being addressed in democracies throughout the world.”
No, copyright infringement is nowhere near the same as taking all the books out of a book store. Once the book is taken out of the book store, it is gone forever and no one can use it again. When music is infringed, the copy is still there for others to download and share. No one has taken anything away. All they have done is made a copy.
To put Burke’s argument misleading quote in context, Copyright Infringement is going into a bookstore, copying the book you want and then walking out, leaving the original book still there for others to use, share and copy.
The problem with recorded music is the supply vs demand argument.
Let’s use 30 Seconds To Mars as an example.
Their music is available for downloading, both legally and illegally. Their music is available on YouTube, on official channels and unofficial channels. Their music is available on streaming sites like Pandora, Spotify, Beats, iTunes Radio, Rdio and many others. Their music is available on vinyl and CD.
There is a large supply chain there and the demand is not centered in the one place anymore.
Streaming is the future because consumers want music to be free. This is the cold reality and artists need to accept that.