Consumer group Choice crowd funds anti-internet filter ad campaign

Consumer advocacy group Choice will next week run a crowd funded TV ad targeting the government’s approach to internet filtering and piracy calling on them to “work smart, not hard, to beat online piracy”.

The satirical advertisement, featuring a fictitious Minister for the Internet, will run next week on WIN Television in the ACT and has also been posted on YouTube.

The 30 second ad shows the minister launching his crude hand made internet filter and is part of Choice’s campaign against proposals which it claims would make the internet more expensive without effectively addressing piracy.

“We believe the government has its policy settings wrong when it comes to combating online copyright infringement,” said Choice campaigns manager Erin Turner. “Australians are frustrated with not being able to access and pay for timely and affordable content.

“It’s this frustration that is driving some consumers to seek a better deal on legitimate overseas sites like Netflix, and unfortunately driving others to illegal downloading.”

Australia is one of the worst offenders in the world when it comes to online piracy, with calls from players like Foxtel for the government to do more to protect its intellectual property over programs such as Game of Thrones.

The Choice campaign comes in the wake of the Federal Government’s Online Copyright Infringement discussion paper that puts forward solutions that the group claims potentially sees the cost of filtering passed costs on to all internet users without dramatically reducing rates of piracy.

“Forcing Internet Service Providers to monitor and prevent copyright infringement through the use of an internet filter is not the answer,” said Turner.

“Looking at international examples, we know that the policies proposed are high-cost with low results. Policies like this in France and New Zealand have cost significant amounts of money. Our fear is that a high-cost system will lead to all consumers paying more for the internet, without meaningfully addressing the problem.”

In a submission to the Government’s competition policy review that is due to report later this year, Choice argued Australians pay artificially high prices for identical goods and services, for example paying 33 pert cent more than US consumers for the top 10 new release movies in Apple’s iTunes store.

“The solution to this problem is removing the barriers that stop Australians from purchasing legitimate content from the global market. We should be using the pressure of genuine competition to deliver more timely and affordable content to local consumers, not punishing Australians and entrenching outdated business models.”

The campaign apes a disastrous interview by Attorney General George Brandis where he struggled to explain to Sky News’ David Speers what metadata is, and what the government would be looking to collect under separate surveillance reforms.

Nic Christensen 


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