caniwatchitEFA, Australia’s leading voice for digital rights since 1994, is today launching caniwatchit.com.au, a website that provides information about the legal availability in Australia of the top ten most infringed movies worldwide. EFA has also published a submission guide for people interested in responding to the government’s Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper.

As the caniwatchit.com.au site shows, this week 70% of the 10 most pirated films are not legally available in Australia.

It's a little known fact that Australians are second only to the US on a per capita basis in terms of revenue from sales of digital consumer goods. While Australians may have led the world in infringing the copyright of Game of Thrones, it was also the single most purchased film or TV show in Australia in 2013.

EFA Chair David Cake said, “With the government’s recent launch of a Discussion Paper on Online Copyright Infringement, we see once again the ‘stick approach’ with no reciprocal responsibility on the part of copyright owners to provide timely, reasonably priced access to content that will make it easier for Australian consumers to exert their clear preference for accessing content legally.

“Should the government’s proposals be enacted, they will place an additional cost burden on Australian consumers via additional compliance costs for ISPs, forcing Australian consumers to pay a premium on digital content to support legacy business models. The proposals will also enable copyright owners to continue to starve Australian consumers of the range of content legally available to consumers in other countries, such as the United States.”

The popularity of Netflix among Australian consumers shows they are willing to pay reasonable prices for timely access to quality content. The fact that there are technical hurdles involved in circumventing the Netflix’s geoblocking shows just how keen many Australian consumers are to access and pay for content legally.

EFA welcomes the recent announcement from Village Roadshow that they are looking to reduce their prices for digital movies in Australia. This is well overdue, as demonstrated by the price to download the Australian-produced Lego Movie, which is available for US$19.99 (AU$21.45) in the US, but which costs AU$24.99 in Australia. At this stage however, this is just an announcement. EFA looks forward to this becoming a reality.

It has been over 12 months since the release of the IT Pricing Inquiry report, and Australians are still awaiting a response from the government to the issues of geoblocking and the so-called ‘Australia Tax’ which sees Australians routinely charged a premium for access to digital goods.

The IT Pricing Inquiry report found that, on average, Australians pay:

  • 50% more for professional software
  • 46% more for hardware
  • 52% more for music
  • 84% more for games
  • 16% more for ebooks

If the government is serious about addressing online copyright infringement, it needs to urgently take take meaningful action to address the issues raised by the following reviews:.

  • the IT Pricing Inquiry report
  • the ALRC’s review of Copyright and the Digital Economy
  • the Attorney-General’s Department’s review of Technical Protection Measures - submissions for which closed in 2011, however no report has just been published

Submission guide for responses to the Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper

EFA encourages all Australians with an interest in consuming digital content to respond to the government’s Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper.

To assist people with understanding the proposals raised in this paper, EFA has published a summary of the Discussion Paper and a guide to making submissions.

4 comments

  1. I think the site is a little misleading, I'm all for pointing out availability issues in Australia when an item is digitally available elsewhere, internationally, however examples on the site do not take into account that the examples are not digitally available internationally as they are still in cinemas, nor does the site point out that if the films are currently legally available in Australia as they are currently showing in cinemas. This somewhat defeats the purpose of pointing them out as not being available in Australia.

    Comment by Andrew on 17 August 2014 at 21:33
  2. I think the site is a little misleading, I'm all for pointing out availability issues in Australia when an item is digitally available elsewhere, internationally, however examples on the site do not take into account that the examples are not digitally available internationally as they are still in cinemas, nor does the site point out that the films are currently legally available in Australia as they are currently showing in cinemas. This somewhat defeats the purpose of pointing them out as not being available in Australia.

    Comment by Andrew on 17 August 2014 at 21:34
  3. Many DVDs are released a year or even later in Australia than the US. Some movies are not even released here and are very difficult to obtain, unlike in most other developed countries where high speed internet is everywhere and video on demand sites of every type are available and actually work without buffering for half the day, with the added bonus of being in actual HD.

    Australian politicians wouldn't even understand the data requirements of streaming 1920x1080 content, let alone 4K , VR and the growing use of multiple connected and wireless devices by all members of the household.

    Comment by Modeerf on 26 August 2014 at 04:03
  4. same thing came to mind that Andrew mentions -- two or three of the ten titles examined are in the theaters now in Australia yet that's not mentioned. A mistake or a purposely withheld info

    Comment by jack on 26 August 2014 at 12:45