Per capita, Australians are the biggest downloaders of pirated material in the world
As the Australian government moves ever closer to enacting legislation aimed at preventing, or at least slowing the downloading of pirated material, a new study by consumer advocacy group Choice has come up with a very interesting and plausible conclusion.
My stance has always been that the media industry’s boundless greed contributes hugely to the level of pirating. The entire media industry’s infrastructure is based around money grubbing in order to cover its own unnecessarily exorbitant system of salaries and expenditure. Simply put; that exorbitant spending has to be recouped somehow, from us, the consumers.
Now, is seems, Choice has confirmed what I, and probably many of you, have been saying for some time. The study concluded that:
- The most frequent pirates are also the biggest consumers of paid and unpaid legal content and many exhaust the legal options before infringing online… and
- This doesn’t make piracy excusable, but it sure suggests that the best way to battle online piracy is to start making content more available and less expensive.
Do you think this will make any difference whatsoever to the media industry’s approach? Do you think anyone within the media industry will even give a damn? Well, maybe if you believe in the tooth fairy you might. Me, I think there’s a snowflake’s chance in hell. The media industry will just go on its exorbitant way, expecting consumers to pay through the nose while whinging to governments about lost revenue and those evil pirates.
The truth of the matter is that media organizations are mega wealthy – ergo powerful, ergo influential – and governments are always going to repay powerful political support with a sympathetic ear. Quid pro quo – it’s just the way the system works.
Australia is also probably quite unique in that we have just one PayTV provider nationwide and very few legal streaming options. Our programming is also way behind the US. The internet has provided us with instantaneous news and reviews regarding new shows and movies but the actual product often arrives on our shores much, much, later. We are just the same as everybody else, we want to see it now!
While I do not condone piracy, at the same time I do condemn the media organizations whose exorbitant practices and boundless greed contribute hugely to their own problem. As Choice has so rightly concluded, there are other more palatable (and likely more effective) ways to combat piracy outside of government intervention and the law courts.