Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) today urged skepticism about claims that piracy is costing thousands of jobs in Australia.

The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) yesterday released a study,"Economic consequences of movie piracy", purporting to show that movie downloading is costing the economy over a billion dollars each year.

"We question many of the assumptions underlying this report," said EFA Chair Colin Jacobs. "The industry has a habit of crying wolf with these sorts of numbers, trying to drum up support for tougher laws. But there are many factors they don't take into account. Treating downloads as lost economic activity is flawed, and downloaders are actually some of the entertainment industry's best customers. The study also ignores the effects to the wider economy of money being spent elsewhere at Australian-owned businesses."

EFA also questions the industry's ongoing strategy of trying to defend their old business model without adapting to the realities of the digital age.

"Instead of waging war against their customers - and trying to get government help to do so - the movie industry should focus on improving its own offering, and give customers a better alternative to the peer-to-peer networks," said Jacobs. "History shows that customers are happy to pay a fair price for a good product and a good service."

EFA has provided further analysis on its web site at efa.org.au.

- Ends -

Below is:

- Background information
- Contact details for media


* EFA response to study
- http://www.efa.org.au/2011/02/17/afact-study/

* AFACT Report
- http://www.afact.org.au/pressreleases/2011/17-2-2011.html

About EFA:

Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc. (EFA) is a non-profit national organisation representing Internet users concerned with on-line rights and freedoms. EFA was established in 1994, is independent of government and commerce, and is funded by membership subscriptions and donations from individuals and organisations with an altruistic interest in promoting online civil liberties.

Media Contacts:

Mr Colin Jacobs
EFA Chair
Phone: 0402 631 955
Email: [email protected]

Mr Stephen Collins
EFA Spokesperson
Phone: 0410 680 722
Email: [email protected]


  1. "History shows that customers are happy to pay a fair price for a good product and a good service."

    Case in point - I will drive for 40 minutes, past 3 different cinemas to go to the movies, because the cinema i go to is just as good (probably better) than the BCC cinemas i pass and the tickets are less than half the price. Gold class for $13? Yes please!!!!

    Between overpriced cinemas and blatantly misleading ad campaigns, it's no wonder the average moviegoer is reluctant to put down their hard-earned on an unknown. Perhaps if the film studios were more selective with their project geen-lights, customers would have more faith and turn away from piracy a little more...

    Comment by Shadowsphynx on 19 February 2011 at 18:51
  2. "History shows that customers are happy to pay a fair price for a good product and a good service."

    I used to pirate almost all of my games, now I own 1 pirated game (roller coaster tycoon 3) which is not available on steam (even though a trailer is), and exactly 150 legitimate games on steam, don't believe me, check my steam account http://steamcommunity.com/id/vikeyev69 . OK for some reason it says I have 198 games, well i don't I only have 150. Either way, steam has revolutionised the way in which I buy games. Most places are just plain ripoffs, I can buy 20 games on steam for the same price I can buy 1 from EB games.

    Most of the entertainment industry just refuses to see that, piracy is not always caused by some greedy bastard wanting to get everything for free. Their are many different causes for piracy, some from bad services (like ripoff prices, crappy customer service or an inability to obtain certain media in this country), some from a want to test the product first. I myself have pirated many a program to see if it would be worth it or not, more often then not because the company didn't offer a trial/demo or limited most of the functionality in turn not allowing me to get a proper feel for what the actual product would be like. If I liked the product I would buy it, if not I remove it (I'm not exactly going to keep a product I hate).

    Their are many other reasons for piracy but I have already written a small essay lol and I don't wanna make it to much longer.

    Comment by @Vikeyev on 20 February 2011 at 00:13
  3. Come and get me Hollywood. I pack an arsenal of armour and shields like peer blocking software and dynamic IP's. I've had enough of the "Poor Hollywood" BS. Until things went digital, they had us all over a barrel. There business model is outdated and deeply flawed. And still, they make record profits. I paid through the proverbial nose for decades with my hard earned only to be let down. When I was 16, I earned $122pw. I'd hear a song I liked, buy the tape for $25.00, then get home and find one decent track and the rest just filler. One song for 20% of a persons weekly income! Well Hollywood I hope you've banked that money I shovelled into your bank accounts for 2 decades and invested it wisely because there is just no way I'm going to volunteer to give you any more.

    Comment by Sammy T on 21 February 2011 at 13:50
  4. Hollywood ripped me off and now it's payback time. Really, how many mansions do they want? The media business is now a poorly run sham, totally unfit to compete in the 21st century. Movies should premier on the internet, Hollywood should have their own ISP's and do it in house. And the subscription model should be seriously looked at. If a mythical site called Hollywood.com offered me a monthly subscription for $25.00 and I got all the new releases - I'd sign up.

    Comment by Sammy T on 21 February 2011 at 13:50
  5. And the zone system for DVD distribution is a farce as well as the fact we have to wait to be able to see movies here that have been on US screens for months. Wake up hollywood.

    Comment by Sam on 21 February 2011 at 13:53
  6. Wow, fantastic that The Age's article (http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/digital-pirates-given-free-ride-20110221-1b1vi.html) references this blog post and quotes Colin Jacobs.

    Comment by Matt Giuca on 21 February 2011 at 16:52
  7. This is a issue that needs to be seriously looked at. The film and music industry are crying wolf for far too long and the political and judicial system are giving them for too much time. Just look at the net wealth of the top Hollywood A list celebs and producers as well as the net worth of the to music execs and artists. Not to mention the weekly profit listings that are released. It makes a mockery of their arguments. Combine this with the US court ruling that the the figures for lost earnings given by the entertainment industry for pirated ,"great emotive jargon that", products can not be proven or substantiate and you get an idea about the deceptiveness involved in this debate on the movie and record companies behalf. this is an old industry run by old rich business men who don't like sharing the love they earn and adapting to changing economic realities.

    Comment by Joe on 24 February 2011 at 15:31
  8. one downloaded movie does not equal $40 lost revenue (or whatever price they value a film to be). in fact, it may well result in hundreds of dollars revenue they wouldn't have otherwise seen.
    The film industry needs to recognise this, and media and legislators need to see through this as a cornerstone of their argument.
    I'd be very interested if someone were to survey the correlation between media piracy and sales. from personal experience, most of the pirates I know spend hundreds on media, often the same films and music they 'steal'. In this economic climate, piracy allows consumers (pretty much the only option) to sample media before they shell out. This way they don't have to pay exorbitant amounts to see a movie, only to find out it's a heap of s**t. moreover, it allows them to take risks and see films with a lower advertising budget, that they may not have had the chance to see otherwise.
    to artists and film-makers: don't worry about pirates, just concentrate on making GOOD media. if you do good work, people will recognise that and reward it, by buying the dvd or blu-ray, watching the special features, going to the cinema, recommending it to friends, (or music: going to the concert, buying the t-shirt, buying the upcoming album).
    however, if you churn out crap for profit, people will know, and you won't have a free ride any longer. at least that's the theory, but face it, you'll still be making millions.

    Comment by nonAnon on 28 February 2011 at 02:44
  9. I really wish the 'movie' companies, studies and all their associates would quite simply shut up and realize that they've had their hay day using their outdated business model. Times change, get with it.

    Everytime I go to the movies (which has become rather infrequent!) I have to put up with watching their stupid 'accidental pirate' videos which are altogether misleading and false advertising. Someone copying a CD or DVD doesn't cost the movies one single penny, it is only an 'abstract loss' at best, and the fact of the matter is that if a person has made the choice to copy, for whatever reason, they obviously are NOT a customer, and therefore it cannot be presumed that they 'would have been' a customer, and as such there is NO lost sale at all!

    Additionally, viewing a legitimate movie is actually costing the Australian, and global, economy billions in lost productivity.

    Every time I watch a movie in a Cinema, without fail I have to sit through at least 20 minutes to half an hour of 'CineAds'. Times that by 50 people a session, maybe 30 sessions a day in an average cinema, and you're looking at the average cinema causing a loss to the local economy of over $8,910 a day on the assumption that a persons time is worth a misely 18 bucks an hour! Over the course of a year a single cinema is causing losses in productivity far exceeding $3.25 million, and that isn't even including the hours of 'leisure' that people spend watching the actual movie!! It's only the cost of Australian's alone watching 'CineAds'!!!

    Assuming there were a thousand cinemas in Australia, that's $3.25 billion in damages being caused by the Film Industry, would the government please sue for damages on behalf of the Australian people!!!

    The worst part is that they then charge outrageous prices to watch a movie in the first place, and I have to be carbon poluter by driving or catching public transport to the Cinema, and once I've arrived I then sit for two hours in a seat that's far from comfortable!

    So, why wouldn't I want to copy a movie, download it or otherwise obtain it, and just watch it at home on my beautiful surround sound home cinema with a beautiful cinema sized screen?!?!? All in my comfortable leather arm chair, with an unlimited supply of reasonably priced snacks!!

    Printing presses made book companies, the internet has made the companies of the future. Film brought books to life, it opened our eyes to the richness of experience that previously only our ears could hear. Change happens, those who adapt and adjust will succeed and prosper, those who are awkward and outdated and only try to sue will find their wick snuffed out.

    Pay attention you movie theaters and Holly Wood, and indeed all who complain about the new digital borders and age of globalization. It cannot be stopped any longer, get with it, or get out!

    Comment by David S on 1 April 2011 at 00:30