Content accessibility key to stopping piracy, Australians say

Comms Alliance commissioned survey finds support for market-based approach to reducing online copyright violations

A survey commissioned by telco industry group Communications Alliance has indiciated that most Australians believe any crackdown on piracy will fail and that making content available more easily through legal channels is key to reducing online copyright violations.

A majority of the 1500 people whose views were canvassed in the survey indicated they thought people will be able to circumvent anti-piracy measures.

Twenty six per cent strongly agreed and 46 per cent agreed that "Given the rapidly changing nature of technology, people will continue to find ways around the system. The problem needs to be addressed by making content more accessible." Only 3 per cent disagreed or strongly disagreed with the proposition.

The survey also found most people feared that if ISPs are required to take more responsibility for "identifying, monitoring and punishing" people engaged in online copyright violations that end users will end up paying more to access the Internet.

Who should pay for taking action against people engaged in piracy has previously been a sticking point in discussions between rights holders and telcos.

Forty three per cent of people surveyed supported a market-based response to piracy through making content easier and cheaper to access; 19 per cent backed a regulatory response.

Most of those surveyed agreed that digital content costs more in Australia and that cutting the price of items such as TV shows, music, movie, software and books and making content available at the same time across markets would reduce piracy.

The survey results come as the federal government mulls tightening Australia's online copyright enforcement regime.

Earlier this year the government launched a public consultation on a range of measures intended to prevent piracy, including extending the circumstances in which ISPs could be held liable for copyright violations by their customers and implementing a blocking system to prevent access to websites associated with illegal downloads.

Some telcos and website operators have argued that the key to reducing online copyright violations is implementing a strategy that pursues the revenue streams of those who operate piracy-related websites, rather than pursuing individual downloaders.

Comms Alliance commissioned JWS Research to conduct the survey, which incorporated the views of 1500 Australians aged 18 years or older. The survey was conducted late last month.

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