Poor content access blamed for piracy

iiNet says AFACT cost recoup is “reasonable”

Better online access to movies and music will help address the piracy problem according to internet service providers, Internode and iiNet.

The comments follow statements by iiNet that a damages claim sought by Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) against the Internet Service Provider (ISP) will not stop piracy.

AFACT has lodged an appeal to escalate the failed copyright infringement case to a panel of judges.

iiNet chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, said the ISP could sit down with AFACT "tomorrow" and work out a profitable content distribution model that would stamp out a lot of piracy.

"This case and the subsequent appeal will not stop or slow piracy

"Their problem lies in the fact that the movie industry has invested hundreds of millions in creating demand for their catalogue of product by promoting and advertising their movies, and then allowed a black market to flourish by not satisfying the demand (that they have created) with legally available content," Dalby said in an email interview.

"If they invested the wasted millions this court case had cost into an online distribution platform, we would be two years closer to satisfying consumer demand for their product.

"This case and the subsequent appeal will not stop or slow piracy. Consumers want the movies, if they are not available legally, they’ll continue to look for other options. The ball is in their court."

Dalby said AFACT's move to recoup court expenditure is "a rational step to take" in order to "seek to minimise the financial impact".

Internode managing director, Simon Hackett, said he expects the court case to continue "on principle".

"The most viable solution to reduce piracy of Hollywood content is for Hollywood to decide to start selling [more] legal access to [content]," Hackett said in an email.

"It needs to put away the stick and starting using a carrot."

Hackett said piracy proliferates because movie studios spend large amounts on advertising but have not embraced online distribution models, which he said offer good return on investment.

Exetel managing director, John Linton, said in his personal blog that the ISP has been advised to forward allegations of copyright infringements to users.

The Recording Industry Association of America [[xref:http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9124097/RIAA_shifts_gears_on_music_piracy_says_it_won_t_file_more_suits?intsrc=hm_list |dropped its spate of lawsuits in 2008 against individuals]] for alleged music piracy. Instead, it said it would use a graduated response and work more closely with ISPs to identify alleged copyright infringers and try to persuade them to stop.

AFACT has not yet responded regarding the possible online distribution methods to sell content.

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