I have Apple TV, BBC iPlayer*and for a while there, I had Foxtel. That’s a lot of money to still not be able to get the shows I want to watch.
But the ABC is slowly trying to change that by offering the brand new season of Doctor Who on the iView player on Sunday September 8, just hours after it airs for the first time in the UK and a week before it will air on Aussie TV.
ABC1’s controller Brendan Dahill told me that the ABC decided to put Doctor Who online first to reduce piracy because it was clear that people downloading it was a sign that the ABC (and other providers) had not met consumer demand for the series. And he’s absolutely right.
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There is talk of piracy in Canberra today as the Opposition makes clear it is not giving the Government a free pass on asylum seeker management. It is determined to depict the Government as too incompetent and unprepared to implement the policy it jointly supports of sending refugee applicants to Nauru and Manus Island.
The accompanying message is that only an Abbott government could really stop the boats and “be in charge of who comes to our country”.
“If you want to have John Howard’s results,” said Opposition Leader Tony Abbott of the partially revived Pacific Solution, “you have to have John Howard’s resolve.” That piracy talk is echoing in Norway where executives of the Wallenius shipping line today must be asking why them as they are again drawn into the unattractive margins of Australia’s asylum seeker debate.
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When I was about six years old, I bought my first album: ABBA. It was the one which featured Agnetha, Frida, Benny and Bjorn in a vintage car on the cover.
Before I engaged in the transaction, my mother advised me that the purchase was going to require all my “big money”. That is, all my 20 and 50 cent pieces. A big deal when you only received 20 cents a week in pocket money.
My mother offered me an alternative: my best friend’s mother (who owned the album) could make me a tape instead. No, I responded. I didn’t want a tape. I wanted to buy the album. In making that decision, I was placing a value on ABBA’s music. And although I did not realise it at the time, that was my first interaction with economics and copyright.
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“Illegal music downloading is like casual racism; widespread and inevitable. That doesn’t make it acceptable!” That was a frustrated exclamation from Sydney singer-song writer Josh Pyke during our recent interview.
It’s a notion that’s drummed into children from a young age by parents and teachers: “just because everyone’s doing it doesn’t make it right”.
Apparently millions of adult Australians have forgotten that advice, and as a result we’re not only breaking the law en masse, we’re cheating hard-working musicians out of deserved pay. As Pyke says, music piracy is similar to race-based bigotry; inherently wrong yet widely accepted.
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Digital Rights Management doesn’t work. DRM is a method of locking digital media so it can’t be shared. Except it fails. For every form of DRM employed, pirates instantly break it.
DRM only inconveniences honest, paying customers. For example, in the case of eBooks, a person might justifiably want to have their book on their PC and their tablet, but DRM can prevent that.
I regularly get Google Alerts about my books being mentioned online and many times it’s when they appear illegally on filesharing sites. For every download like that, it’s a drop of cash not going to keeping food on my table, right? Actually, probably not.
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Doubtless we’ve all seen that gritty urban anti-piracy ad that equates half-inching cars and televisions with illegally downloading movies on the internet.
The message, writ large is “DOWNLOADING PIRATED MOVIES IS STEALING, STEALING IS AGAINST THE LAW”. It’s a fair point, and surely one that only a klepto of the highest order would even attempt to argue with. You would think.
The last time I graced a cinema with my presence, for the umpteenth time my peepers were affronted with the Hollywood sign sized words “YOU WOULDN’T STEAL A CAR”.
Only this time something in me twigged. I instantly turned to my mate and blurted, “Yeah, but I would if I could download one”. And though I happily got the laughs I was after, the saddest part was, it was the truth.
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