The Australian content industry says more accessible content won't stop piracy

Warner Bros

Australia’s film and TV industry advocate group Creative Content Australia has issued a response to a new draft report from the Productivity Commission that called to make content “more accessible”.

The group, chaired by Roadshow’s CEO Graham Burke, said that it believed it was untrue that making content more accessible through offerings such as streaming services will reduce online piracy.

Lori Flekser, the executive director of CCA claimed that its independently commissioned reports say that, ““consistently and unequivocally reflected the key reason for piracy: because it’s free”.

She added that despite the strong uptake of legal streaming services such as Netflix and Stan in Australia, the biggest reason people have stopped pirating is due to the awareness of tougher piracy legislation, rather than the availability of the content.

The big example the organisation used was episode one of “Game of Thrones” season 6, which more than 100,000 Australians pirated in the first 12 hours. CCA said that this was done despite the show being made available to Australians at a “reasonable cost” and without delay.

“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,” Flekser said.

The group added that rather than pushing for more accessible content, stronger copyright laws would, “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.”

In last month’s report, the Productivity Commission also said that Australians shouldn’t be blocked from viewing content overseas, and it should be made clear that it’s not illegal to circumvent those geoblocking arrangements.

On top of that, they said that they believe Australians pay more for digital products due to geoblocking and local rights compared to overseas counterparts.

You would have to pay $30 a month to watch “Game of Thrones” through Foxtel Play in Australia. In the US, you can subscribe to HBO Now for $US15 a month to have complete access.

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