Figures showing Australians twice as likely to pirate content as Brits ‘disappointingly high’


Andrew Maiden

A new report into piracy claims twice as many Australians as Brits have “consumed at least some content illegally”, a figure the head of the pay-TV lobby group has branded “disappointingly high”.

Of the 2,630 Australians surveyed between March and April 43 per cent admitted downloading at least one illegal form of content, compared to 21 per cent of people asked the same survey in the UK.

Free TV Australia said the report highlights copyright infringement as “a significant issue for all content publishers”, while Andrew Maiden, CEO of subscription TV lobby group Astra, said: “The rate of piracy in Australia is disappointingly high, far exceeding that in the United Kingdom, which makes you wonder why piracy is more acceptable in our culture.”

Movies were the most illegally consumed format, with 48 per cent of Australian respondents aged 12 and over saying they had breeched regulations, compared to 25 per cent in the UK.

Copyright Stats_Aus UK

The other main content types where infringements were noted were music, TV programmes, and video games.

More than half of all respondents said they broke the law when consuming media because it was free, and because it was convenient.

Forty-three per cent of internet users admitted they were not sure what constituted illegal material online.

The report included statistics on which factors would encourage people to stop breaking the law.

Cutting the cost of illegal content was highlighted as the main incentive (39 per cent), while 38 per cebt said legal content being more available would stop them. One in five would cease consuming illegal content if their ISP threatened to suspend their account.

Copyright Reason Stats

The survey also provides insight into why Australians infringe

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull

The report was commissioned by the Department of Communications, with Minister Malcolm Turnbull saying: “The results also underscore the importance of governments working with industry to address infringement issues, and that a range of measures are needed to properly tackle the problem.

“Recent amendments to the Copyright Act 1968, which enable the blocking of infringing overseas websites, and complement the Copyright Notice Scheme Industry Code that is currently being developed by both rights holders and internet service providers, are part of the solution.

“However, rights holders’ most powerful tool to combat online copyright infringement is making content accessible, timely and affordable to consumers.”

Maiden added: “The report identifies price and timeliness as key factors in piracy, so we are hopeful the measures recently taken by the television industry to make content cheaper and faster will reduce theft.”

Copyright Factors

Free TV Australia said it remained committed to working with both Government and industry to implement measures “to reduce piracy and its detrimental effects on content owners”.

It added: “The research underscores the importance of the recent initiatives to fight online piracy in Australia.

“The UK has had similar measures in place for some years and these survey results support existing evidence that a multi-pronged approach to combating piracy works.”

In June the government moved to pass new piracy laws, allowing rights holders to go to court to get websites that provide access to pirated content blocked in Australia, among a number of other conditions.

Kevin Bradford


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