Foxtel: sending letters to pirates ‘isn’t efficient or good for consumers’

AMF_7243 (307 of 376).NEFFoxtel has downplayed the significance of this week’s Dallas Buyers Club court case arguing the pursuit of individual downloaders through legal channels by copyright holders is not the right approach to curb piracy.

Speaking to Mumbrella about the court decision ahead of next week’s launch of Game of Thrones, director of corporate affairs at Foxtel Bruce Meagher said he did not believe the court ruling had broken much new ground.

“We don’t think it is efficient, we don’t think it is necessarily good for consumers if copyright owners spend all their time trying to prosecute people,” said Meagher. 



“We would rather educate people and encourage them to change their behaviour.”

On Tuesday the Federal Court ruled rights holders could force internet service providers (ISPs) to reveal the identity of customers who downloaded and shared content to which they own the rights, without their permission. It is thought the production company behind Dallas Buyers Club will now look to send out charge notices to consumers asking them to pay for the content.

Asked if Foxtel would look to start sending such letters following the ruling Meagher said: “That’s not been our approach and I don’t think we would necessarily adopt that.”

“We are very supportive of the process that is being undergone at the moment with the ISP community and the copyright holders community to develop a code of practice whereby you could send education notices to people who download unauthorised versions,” he said referring to the draft voluntary industry code of practice which plans to send internet users torrenting or downloading content, without permission, a series of warnings.

Meagher said despite all the headlines he was not sure the case would have a huge impact in the fight against piracy.

“We have always been entitled to take people to court for breach of copyright,” he said.

“I don’t think the Dallas Buyers Club case tells people much that is new frankly, because copyright owners do have that right. The court, in providing preliminary discovery, are only doing something that courts do in any number of circumstances.

“Defamation etc is a classic example of where you may not know the identity of a critical player that you need to engage in the case. That’s a pretty standard thing.”

Foxtel’s corporate affairs boss cited their work in bringing down the entry price of Foxtel for highly downloaded shows like Game of Thrones to $30 a month, as an example of what rights holders need to do to stop users pirating content.

“We needs to show people that there are increasingly cheap, flexible, timely ways to get their hand on content. That’s the way to do it.”

Nic Christensen 

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