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Movies Australia Piracy Your Rights Online

Aussie Case Unlikely To Solve Piracy Riddle In Fast Broadband World 219

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the at-least-the-lawyers-won dept.
An anonymous reader writes "When some of Hollywood's biggest movie and TV studios took Australian ISP iiNet to court in 2008 — accusing it of facilitating piracy — it focused the eyes of the world downunder. Internet users and media companies alike were keen to see if the courts could figure out how to resolve the ongoing battle caused by easy, and essentially illegal, access to copyrighted material. After three and a half years and a number of appeals the high court judgement comes down on Friday, but it already looks like a failed attempt to solve an impossible riddle."
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Aussie Case Unlikely To Solve Piracy Riddle In Fast Broadband World

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  • Not impossible (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoeMerchant (803320) on Monday April 16, 2012 @10:13PM (#39706845)

    The piracy riddle is not impossible, but the two sides of the argument have taken irreconcilable positions. Zero respect for IP is not ideal, and neither is absolute authority to enforce IP rights in all media and devices.

    Why can't we all just get along? [mediate.com]

    • Re:Not impossible (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2012 @10:18PM (#39706883)

      Zero respect for IP is not ideal, and neither is absolute authority to enforce IP rights in all media and devices.

      That's just an opinion, but I do agree with it.

      But between the two, I'd much rather have the former. The problem with the latter is that it advocates collective punishment. DRM, nonsensical bills like SOPA, etc, all hurt innocents and restrict freedom. Probably more than pirates who know what they're doing. I think collective punishment is immoral.

      That said, I don't really agree that it's possible to stop it. The scope of the internet is too vast, and there are many who simply don't care. I think it's something we will have to live with, and learn to adapt to it.

      • Re:Not impossible (Score:5, Insightful)

        by JoeMerchant (803320) on Monday April 16, 2012 @10:27PM (#39706919)

        Zero respect for IP is not ideal, and neither is absolute authority to enforce IP rights in all media and devices.

        That's just an opinion, but I do agree with it.

        But between the two, I'd much rather have the former.

        What I'd like to see is an open marketplace with clear labeling: DRM vs non DRM. Both producers and consumers should be free to choose, with non-trivial options on both sides. It seems to me that non DRM audio entertainment and video games are starting to make some significant headway, while the motion picture industry is still playing ostrich and saying all DRM, everywhere, all the time is the only thing conceivable.

        I bought one DRM'ed album on iTunes for my iPad, it was such an unholy disappointing pain in the ass that I will never do that again - in contrast, I spent thousands of dollars on essentially non DRM'ed vinyl back in the day, and hundreds of dollars on high quality tape and tape recorders to protect and extend my fair use ownership rights of the music on the LPs.

        • Re:Not impossible (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Chuck Chunder (21021) on Monday April 16, 2012 @10:52PM (#39707049) Homepage Journal

          I bought one DRM'ed album on iTunes for my iPad

          How did you manage that?
          The iPad was released in March 2010.
          Apple had stopped using DRM for music on iTunes by the end of March 2009, a year earlier.

          • I bought "Red Velvet Car" with some bonus video content from the iTunes store, maybe it's not DRM, I thought it wasn't when I clicked "Buy Now", maybe there's some way to download it to my PC, I sure as hell don't have the time to figure out how - I did take about 1/2 an hour looking through the menus, encountering statements like "authorized on up to 5 devices" and similar, nothing clearly labeling a way to just get a bloody .mp3 or whatever file out to another device. I searched through Google, in blogs,

          • by ifrag (984323)

            Apple had stopped using DRM for music on iTunes by the end of March 2009, a year earlier.

            Would be nice if Apple could take the same stance on audiobooks as they did on music. Audiobooks on iTunes are still DRM'd to hell and back.

        • Re:Not impossible (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968&gmail,com> on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @12:29AM (#39707481) Journal

          And you just pointed out the answer, just look at Valve. With Steam what you have is a lot like the old disc based copy protection, there are a bazillion cracks out there but its just enough to keep it from being absurdly trivial for Joe Average to hand out the games to all his friends and in return the sales make it so damned cheap frankly it isn't worth the effort to pirate for a lot of people.

          What the whole insane IP mess has done is made these douchebags think their "IP" is so damned precious they should be able to just avoid that whole "market pricing" thing and charge the absolute most assraping price they can slap on it. All piracy is is a sign from the market that the prices are wrong. humans are lazy creatures and if you hit the sweet spot on the price many will simply not bother as it'll be cheaper and easier to buy than to pirate. I have probably 40 games in Steam and another 40 from GOG, could i have not pirated them all? Sure but it wouldn't have been as easy as "push button and get game" and the prices were so low, why bother?

          But instead what we get is nothing but DRMed up the ass garbage that makes the pirated version the better value. its like what Wil Wheaton pointed out when he bought some Dr Who off of Amazon and found it didn't work when he crossed the border for a show even though he had already "bought" the content "If I would have just pirated it I could be watching Dr Who right now". make it easy, make it convenient, make it cheap. miss any of the three and the pirated version will be the better version.

        • media sentry has started sending out notices in australia...

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MediaSentry

          basically these people are worse than useless and send out notices without actually proving one way or another, on top of that the rights holders most often dont condone it as they actually share out their "media" to try and trap people...

          australia is so far behind in terms of TV and film distribution and the local networks ie. channel 7 and ten are frankly pathetic in terms of content buying only formats and

        • It seems to me that non DRM audio entertainment and video games are starting to make some significant headway

          What recently published video games without digital restrictions management would you say are "mak[ing] some significant headway"? I thought all console games, all PC games on the Steam service, and all iPhone and iPad games still used DRM.

          • I don't play a lot of games anymore, but gog.com publishes what I would call decent, entertaining games DRM free - they are legit, aren't they? I wouldn't call the gog games "cutting edge," but I also wouldn't call them insignificant.

      • Re:Not impossible (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @12:23AM (#39707455)

        As somebody who follows these issues closely (i.e. Copyright laws, related lawsuits, DRM, website blocking, etc.) I think both of you are not very well informed.

        First, I think there's a lot of respect for intellectual property actually, even among people who occasionally download stuff for free. You have to understand, the "pirates" are a group made of very different people. Gender, age, social status and motives vary greatly from one pirate to another.
        Most people don't pirate just to get free stuff, they pirate because
        - they genuinely can't afford it (think children or people in severe poverty) or feel the original product is overpriced but would be happy to pay 60% if they could,
        - they want to check out the quality of a game, movie or song before they pay for it,
        - the original product has DRM and as a result, it's quality suffers or the product is not fully usable
        - they want the money to go in the artist's pockets, not the publisher's
        - they want a song or movie that is decades old and for which the artist shouldn't be entitled to get money, or the song/movie should be in the public domain by now if the law was reasonable.
        - or they're upset at the company/producer/musician for some reason (for example, imagine you like Polanski's movies but refuse to give him a cent because he's a rapist).

        Most "pirates" understand perfectly well that if you don't pay content producers, you end up with less content being made. Pirates aren't questioning that (although they do question the occasional claim by the industry that there would be 0 artists if nobody paid them a cent).

        I think if there is any respect issue, it's the other way around: the industry doesn't respect customers, so customers are reluctant to give their money to the industry.
        DRM is one lack of respect. No DRM has ever stopped pirates, every game with DRM has been pirated in less than 3 months. On the other hand, DRM inconveniences customers greatly, by hurting performance, creating bugs or sometimes locking people out of their game (for example, see Dragon Age and how you had to be connected to EA Games' servers the whole time while you played. If your connection dropped for a second, the game quit to your desktop and a few months ago the game could not be played for a whole week because EA were moving their servers.

        Then there's the way publishers try to change the law to suit them, regardless of how it works for people. Spying on people's internet activity through ISPs, locking people out of the Internet, fining schools for making kindergarten students perform popular songs... yeah, that's real respect here.

        How about DVD regions, and how you need a different DVD reader for each continent. A lot of people travel and immigrate in this day, so it affects quite a few people.

        Or what about being a jerk, like Sony raising the prices on Whitney Houston's CDs minutes after her death? Of course they passed it off as an error, but it's obvious somebody at Sony realized the PR disaster that was about to follow - they would have gone with the raise in prices if only they had known the public wouldn't be offended.

        Speaking of Sony, they sold PS3s with Linux, then remotely removed Linux from the consoles through an update. Of course you were free not to update, but then you had to stop playing online. Again, real respect there.

        I could go on. The point is, people do respect IP. Pirates who never spend a cent on media are a tiny bunch. Greed is not what piracy is about at all. Most people know that they must support their favorite artists if they want more of their content, and people do this gladly.

        But there's more to the piracy issue. For one thing, the industry is not fighting it because it hurts their profits. They're making millions, their profits are higher than ever before... It's not about losing money, despite what they claim.
        These people are not stupid: they know DRM is unpopular. They know why people pirate. They know pirate gives them more exposure...
        It's about control.

        • Re:Not impossible (Score:4, Interesting)

          by drkstr1 (2072368) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @01:42AM (#39707821)

          Thank you so much for taking the time to write this.

          I am a pirate, and proud of it. I would also consider myself to be one of the most generous persons I know with their money. I will download a DVD in a heart beat, but I also bought a $25 optional ticket to L5 [l5-series.com], a crowd-sourced scifi series (well soon to be series, one episode made so far...). For this $25, I was able to stream the video from their website, or download it directly via HTTP or torrent. I was happy to spend this money. note: this is just one example, I don't mean to say this one act alone makes me a generous person.

          Awhile back, I made the stupid mistake of actually purchasing a game I liked from a big studio (Shogun Total War). I had downloaded the torrent, and decided that it was worth supporting the artists/programmers that created it, so I later purchased it through steam and deleted the cracked copy. I cannot play the purchased version of this game without internet due to the DRM ( I know steam has offline mode, but it always gives me the tough-shit message), and my internet goes down rather frequently. These guys punished me for paying them money!! Lesson learnt, thanks EA games.

          You want to stop piracy? Then start providing a better service than the friggin' pirates! I would happily pay money for such a service, and I know many pirates who share my sentiments.

          • Off-topic, but appropriate reply to your post. Please don't waste your mod points; I've said this before on more appropriate topics.

            Steam "Offline Mode" isn't for when your internet connection is down. It's for when you intend to take your game library away from your internet connections. Say you game on a laptop, and you want to take your games on holiday. You'd open up the Steam options, select "Cache my login details" if you don't already, and then you set Steam to "Offline Mode". This tells Steam that
      • Regulatory capture (Score:3, Interesting)

        by barv (1382797)

        Copyright was, when first invented, a way for a writer or inventor to recover value for their creative work. They got a couple decades of protection, then their copyright vanished.

        Nobody else had copyright. Musicians had to perform, because phonographs weren't invented. Same with acting and just about everything else.

        Then technologists invented ways to capture music, make movies. Somebody thought it would be a good ideas to allow copyrights on the product of new technology. The promoters invented regul

        • The record labels aren't really that important any more. They date from a time when selling music on a large scale needed access to record-pressing factories, big chain store contracts, fleets of distribution trucks, hugely expensive professional recording gear and such things. Now anyone with a little talent can almost match that gear with a cheap computer and decent mic, and distribute online for free. Getting payment for it is a bit harder, but when the cost of production and distribution is so low even
          • They date from a time when selling music on a large scale needed access to record-pressing factories, big chain store contracts, fleets of distribution trucks

            If you're selling to a demographic less likely to have high-speed Internet access [slashdot.org], such as jazz or pop-standards to the over-50 set or country music to rural dwellers, you still need the "record-pressing factories, big chain store contracts, fleets of distribution trucks", and the like at least until brick and mortar stores allow people to carry in a PC or digital audio player and buy music [notalwaysright.com].

            Besides, you didn't mention promotion. The major labels have long-term relationships with the major FM radio statio

      • by pantaril (1624521)

        Zero respect for IP is not ideal, and neither is absolute authority to enforce IP rights in all media and devices.

        That's just an opinion, but I do agree with it.

        But between the two, I'd much rather have the former.

        Fortunately, we have more options then those two. We can for example write copyright law in a way that it will provide compensation to creators of science and usefull arts without limiting distribution of information.
        Unfortunately, most people are so fixated on current broken form of copyright that they don't see other posibilities and the discussion about them is nonexistent.

        Hopefully, pirate parties will change this in the future. Until then, enjoy constant attacks from copyright owners on our privacy, ar

    • Re:Not impossible (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Inf0phreak (627499) on Monday April 16, 2012 @10:23PM (#39706907)

      The thing is... I don't think a free and open internet is possible together with strong, enforcable and actively enforced copyright laws.

    • by Dodgy G33za (1669772) on Monday April 16, 2012 @10:24PM (#39706911)

      Mediation makes no sense when there is a right and a wrong.

      Imagine that instead of being abolished, slavery had been allowed to continue on cane farms because otherwise the cane couldn't be cut economically.

      Or the minimum wage only applies to people with a college education.

      You could imagine both being compromise outcomes. And sometimes the compromise is the worst of all outcomes because it stops you from doing what should be done from the outset.

      • Back in the 1700s and before, "civilized men" recognized the value of intellectual property to society as a whole and provided foundations for it in most governmental systems. These IP protecting systems, like so much else, have been morphed and twisted by entities with power and influence to benefit themselves as much as possible, and in my opinion they have gone almost far enough that abolishment of IP protection might be just as good as the IP protection systems we have today if it weren't for the socia

        • How could these "civilized men" have recognised "intellectual property", when there was no such thing in existence for them to recognise? There was ideas, sure, but it wasn't "property" till they made it so.

    • But in the middle is a compromise position where piracy runs rampant and technology is still locked-down and restricted. Neither side is happy with that. Piracy started off as just a way to get free stuff, but it's a lot more political now.
    • by Hentes (2461350)

      Because every time we have agreed on a middle ground, the entertainment industry came tired of the status quo and pushed further. The radicalisation of one side then led to the radicalisation of the other. When even ISPs are in danger of becoming liable, the complete abolishment of copyrights dogma of the pirate parties doesn't seem so crazy after all.
      The biggest obstacle of negotiation is that it's not an argument, but a propaganda/lobby battle for the politicians and the silent majority. Like it or not, n

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Zero respect for IP is not ideal, and neither is absolute authority to enforce IP rights in all media and devices.

      The problem is that there will be copies made - nothing can prevent me from using a microphone to record my speakers or a camera to record my TV or any other number of soft and hard hacks. And when that copy gets around, the MAFIAA wants the authority to control and inspect all the places people exchange files and all communication to make sure their IP isn't in it. That is an all but impossible and certainly totalitarian position. Imagine if shop owners were like this, yeah we have cameras and alarms and g

    • by flyneye (84093)

      The riddle is not only not impossible, but plain as noon on a cloudless day.
      Thinking outside a stupidly small box is prerequisite.
      The business model supporting the entertainment industry is outdated to the point of decay. We ,as a world too busy with progress, are unable to take an archaic step back in the same way no one ever brought the mountain to Mohammed. Not gonna work no matter how many judges decree the earth will begin a proscribed reversal of rotation.
      The answer is simple, just let the entertainme

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2012 @10:14PM (#39706849)

    Nothing "impossible" about this "riddle":

    You want me to police my customers for you? Fuck you, pay me.
    You want me to hand over subscriber data without a court order? Fuck you, pay me.
    You want me to block websites based on your sayso? Fuck you, pay me.
    You want me to shut off paying customers because you don't like what they're downloading? Fuck you, pay me.

    • by GrahamCox (741991) on Monday April 16, 2012 @11:00PM (#39707099) Homepage
      That suggests that these things would be OK if the MPAA (or whoever) paid the ISPs. If that were allowed, then that would create a much worse internet than we have now.

      We need to ensure that such a business model for ISPs would never be legal. That's what these court cases are about.
    • by Scarletdown (886459) on Monday April 16, 2012 @11:27PM (#39707193) Journal

      Nothing "impossible" about this "riddle":

      You want me to police my customers for you? Fuck you!
      You want me to hand over subscriber data without a court order? Fuck you!
      You want me to block websites based on your sayso? Fuck you!
      You want me to shut off paying customers because you don't like what they're downloading? Fuck you!

      Fixed that for you.

    • Don't know if that was your intention or not, but I really wanna watch Goodfellas [youtube.com] now...
  • Disconnect Trap (Score:4, Informative)

    by rtb61 (674572) on Monday April 16, 2012 @10:20PM (#39706891) Homepage

    Two problems with disconnect as approved by the High Court, the RIAA/MPAA have to pay for it and they are liable for false disconnects.

    If a business is affected that could be hugely expensive. Even residential users could stick them with a pretty massive civil suit. Online banking, online grocery shopping, online local government communications, social networking, remote working etc. total up the benefits of those services as losses to the consumer and the period of loss and the RIAA/MPAA could be in for some real pain.

    Best way to tackle is to haul the ISP into court and get them to warrant the accuracy of the IP address time correlation to the tune of a million dollars (as the sole form of evidence), if it should prove inaccurate then they should pay a penalty.

    Next up RIAA/MPAA will have to prove accuracy and full evidentiary proof of their accusation, not best guess, not paid per kick off bias and, not sounds like looks like (files names only is a fail). So they will hate it.

  • by beaverdownunder (1822050) on Monday April 16, 2012 @10:33PM (#39706945)

    Regarding TV 'piracy' in Australia, popular television programs are aired in the US/Canada days, weeks or months before here, so people download them in order to stay up to date. That said, many people (myself included) have subscription television that does eventually broadcast these programs, generally commercial free. Does downloading these programs ahead of their broadcast in Australia constitute piracy if you're paying for the subscription television services that eventually broadcast them?

    With regards to film, movies can be delayed by as much as six months (to match 'summer movies' with the Australian summer) from their US debuts. Sometimes, the DVD becomes available overseas before a movie is shown in Australia! Obviously, this is absurd. Peer pressure in internet social groups to download and watch these films can be immense. Australians cannot be expected to have a popular movie 'spoiled' for them by idle chit-chat, nor should the other 95% of users who HAVE seen the movie be forced to keep quiet until Australians get a chance to see it. If release dates were universal, this would be far less of a problem.

    However, since Australians already pay per-gigabyte (either through a cap or pre-paid) perhaps the easiest and best solution for all concerned is to whack on a modest per-GB tariff, similar to the Canadian levy on blank media, to be paid back to content producers. It would be controversial, but perhaps less riotous than attempting to police piracy and 'shut down' accused offenders without due process.

    • by preaction (1526109) on Monday April 16, 2012 @10:42PM (#39706997)

      This. Valve learned from Steam that game piracy numbers in Eastern Europe were high because piracy gave a better product: Better (hacked) translations, faster release dates, and no DRM scheme. Valve fixed two of those problems and watched the money roll in.

      Piracy isn't just people being cheap, but don't let any content producers know that.

      • by CodeBuster (516420) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @12:44AM (#39707561)

        Piracy isn't just people being cheap

        Steve Jobs arrived at basically the same conclusion way back in 2001, that the way to compete with "free" was to provide overwhelming convenience and better customer service in exchange for a nominal fee. The reason that we don't see more of this in practice is that the content owners believe, wrongly, that they can charge a much higher price for a product that is designed to be inconvenient (aka DRM) and get away with it. Of course, the marketplace proves daily that this is false, but for some reason, perhaps escalation of commitment, the content owners cannot or will not admit defeat. The technology industry should stop coddling the content industry and start twisting the knife instead. Now is their chance to deliver the coup de grâce to Hollywood, while they're on the ropes, and yet something stays their hand. Google, Microsoft, IBM and Oracle could collectively crush Hollywood for interfering in their business. Perhaps they should before Hollywood releases "Bride of SOPA".

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          A spokesman for Telenor, the Norwegian telco, summed this up beautifully. He said 'We find that when we are the best source for our own content, we own the content'. This should be tattooed on every MPAA executive's forehead.

      • Pardon my ignorance, but I've seen this before, and I've always been curious: what does it mean to start your post with "This."?

    • by LordLucless (582312) on Monday April 16, 2012 @10:56PM (#39707071)

      However, since Australians already pay per-gigabyte (either through a cap or pre-paid) perhaps the easiest and best solution for all concerned is to whack on a modest per-GB tariff, similar to the Canadian levy on blank media, to be paid back to content producers.

      Yay, free money for the content producers, and jack squat for the consumer. Because those Canadian blank media levies have stopped any persecution of consumers copying the media they've now paid for, am I right?

    • However, since Australians already pay per-gigabyte (either through a cap or pre-paid) perhaps the easiest and best solution for all concerned is to whack on a modest per-GB tariff, similar to the Canadian levy on blank media, to be paid back to content producers.

      So then you'd be making internet teleconferencing pay the content industry for the next 100 years to come.

    • perhaps the easiest and best solution for all concerned is to whack on a modest per-GB tariff, similar to the Canadian levy on blank media, to be paid back to content producers.

      What a horrible system that would be to administer. And expensive. It would totally root the small to micro producers. Not to mention that it would be grossly unfair to people who consume little or no content of the nature that this is aimed at. Spomeone else in the thread likened DRM to collective punishment; this idea is another

    • by devent (1627873)

      perhaps the easiest and best solution for all concerned is to whack on a modest per-GB tariff, similar to the Canadian levy on blank media, to be paid back to content producers.

      You know what should be more easier? To just let them fuck off and legalize pirating. Eventually, they should realize that they have to offer a good product and to meet demands from the market to sell their stuff. So they could finally play at normal terms, without a 70 years monopoly grand (or whatever the copyright term for movies is in Australia).

      They talk about how everyone wants stuff for free, they talk about starving artists, a "riddle in a fast broadband world", etc. How about we talk about the one

  • The Real objective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EnempE (709151) on Monday April 16, 2012 @10:45PM (#39707011)
    I think there is a lot of smoke around what this is about.

    The idea is to get a ruling that makes an ISP responsible for the the abuse of copyright that happens on its servers. This would lead to the the ISPs being forced to pay licencing fees to the licence owners. The costs involved with keeping track of and processing the licencing fees from a few thousand ISPs would be much easier than chasing individuals. This would turn the Internet into a solid revenue stream for the licence holders, and allow it to succeed radio and television as a source of royaties and insure against the failure of payed content such as DVDs and iTunes.

    At the moment ISPs are treated like telephone carriers, the MPAA etc. want them treated as broadcasters were so that they can extract payment in a way that they are comfortable with.

    Australia is a good place to do this in the eye of the MPAA because they feel that they can bully and buy the result, which they can use as a landmark in the UK, and then show as an example to courts in the US.

    This is not about stopping people from sharing content, they want people to keep doing that as their content is being viewed more often. What they want is to get payed for people viewing it, regardless of how they got it, while still not having to pay for the distribution.
    • by ras (84108) <russell-slashdot@nOSpAM.stuart.id.au> on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @01:18AM (#39707723) Homepage

      Australia is a good place to do this in the eye of the MPAA because they feel that they can bully and buy the result

      Bully and buy the result, in Australia? Seriously? If they thought that then they don't know Australian's, their politicians or their ISP's for that matter. As has now been borne out. 4+ years, still no result, the government hasn't stepped in and the media and public opinion is lined up against them.

      By the way, you might like to ask the Tobacco companies how easy it is to bully and bribe to get a result in Australia. We are the first on the planet to introduce plain packaging laws [wikipedia.org]. They've tried well funded media campaigns [smh.com.au], astroturfing campaigns [abc.net.au] where their convinced small shop owner associations to be their mouthpiece, and are currently carrying out their threat to challenge it on constitution grounds [smh.com.au] in our law courts. They brought suits [qld.edu.au] against the Australian government in foreign courts over treaty violations. Again, so far, no result. The law has passed both houses and will be enforced shortly.

      That cultural misunderstanding aside, you are just plain wrong. They have tried to pull this stunt in numerous places with some success in the US, France and NZ off the top of my head. In no way was Australia singled out.

      • by EnempE (709151) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:20AM (#39707939)
        Not plain wrong, not even vanilla wrong. If I am to be any kind wrong may it be a kind of wild fig and truffle wrong that no one likes but everyone orders when they are on a first date to appear sophisticated and worldly.
        I present words of others ( Australian others) on this particular issue when talking of messages from the US leaked by wikileaks:
        "“AFACT and MPAA worked hard to get Village Roadshow and the Seven Network to agree to be the public Australian faces on the case to make it clear there are Australian equities at stake, and this isn’t just Hollywood “bullying some poor little Australian ISP,” the cable quoted the US Embassy as writing.
        ...
        iiNet, the cable claimed, had been targeted because the ISP was “big enough to be important”, as the third-largest ISP in Australia. The MPAA didn’t go after Telstra, the cable claimed, because the telco was “the big guns” and had “the financial resources and demonstrated willingness to fight hard and dirty, in court and out."
        http://delimiter.com.au/2011/08/30/wikileaks-cable-outs-secret-iitrial-background/ [delimiter.com.au]
        Well that does lend weight to idea that they thought they could bully, and that the financing was critical in deciding which ISP to target.
        From the Sydney Morning Herald (Australian Author):
        "It seems the MPAA deliberately avoided picking a fight with the more powerful Telstra, instead hoping for a quick victory against the smaller iiNet which could set a national and perhaps even international legal precedent to aid the Americans in their global fight against piracy" http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/computers/blogs/gadgets-on-the-go/afact-uncle-sams-puppet-in-iinet-trial-20110902-1jp4w.html [smh.com.au]

        I am not alone in having formed the opinion that this matter was motivated by a desire to influence things overseas.
        The references are provided so that you can see the basis from which I was representing the perceptions and intentions of the MPAA in this matter. I am going to also assume when you insisted that " you are just plain wrong" you intended that the MPAA and associated parties are just plain wrong, and that the cultural misunderstanding was on their part as well.
        I did not state that Australia was singled out, we both know they weren't. I didn't state that Australia was actually the best choice either, the facts as you quite rightly pointed out, are proof of the issues with trying to slip something through in Australia. I am very proud of the efforts of the government regarding smoking (especially the ban in clubs etc) I just wish more people would quit. Thanks for the update on how that issue is progressing

        Personally, I think they are barking up the wrong tree and this is not the best solution to their issue. I think this trend towards the legal department being a profit center through patents and other actions is not beneficial to markets or companies (designers and engineers have lower pay rates than lawyers).

        :-)
        • I'd also agree that this is most definitely a misguided effort, based on some fairly badly informed foreign (American) opinions of how Australian politics and culture works. Sol Trujillo's unspectacular run as Telstra's CEO is kind of a good case in point, since he came in and was utterly convinced he was just going to buy and bully the Australian government to get what he wanted. It backfired spectacularly, Telstra's stock price tanked and he was pretty much hounded out of the country.

      • Bully and buy the result, in Australia? Seriously? If they thought that then they don't know Australian's, their politicians...

        Well the Mining companies did a pretty good job of fucking us over. Perhaps Big Tobacco just wasn't as clever at it... BTW the plural of a word doesn't require an apostrophe before the s.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2012 @10:46PM (#39707025)

    From TFA "When put simply, it is clear that they are not really the bad guys. They are just trying to find a way ... any way ... to stop people stealing their content".

    Australia already has a legal framework in place for copyright holders to seek restitution from online infringers. It was included as part of the AU-US free trade agreement. All the studios need to do is get the IP address of the alleged offender, then get a court order for the ISP to hand over the details so the studio can take that individual to court. There's a framework in place for this to be nice and easy.

    The crux of the matter is that after forcing this change of law on Australia, the studios have never bothered to use it. Instead they've decided they didn't really want that law anyway so are instead trying to bully the ISPs instead.

    This case isn't about "piracy". It's about large corporations flailing around blindly because they're unsure of what they want.

  • by jaminJay (1198469) on Monday April 16, 2012 @10:52PM (#39707051) Homepage

    The biggest issue is availability. There are so many times where I have wanted to pay hard-earned cash for product only to be knocked back with 'not available in your region' insanity. Thanks to being able to stream the same stuff fromYouTube from the 'official channel' makes this even more obnoxious.

    The solution is simple: if you're going to release something, it must be available everywhere at the same time. Also, offer it for free with no DRM with the option of paying a reasonable sum and people will pay for it. I know this as I have been involved in the independant music business over here for nearly a decade now.

    People want stuff to be convenient, regardless of price. Currently, piracy is the more convenient option for many situations. Make your product convenient and you will win.

    Finally, there is a large portion of the market who do not have the ability to spend money on entertainment product. This is usually due to their being under sixteen years old and not eligible for credit cards and the like. These people are often the very ones that spread the awareness of your product furthest (just look at how McDonalds, for example, abuses such influence on a child's family and friends).

    This whole argument is a stupid one: one group feels entitled to money, the other feels entitled to culture. The second group will always win.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The biggest issue is availability. There are so many times where I have wanted to pay hard-earned cash for product only to be knocked back with 'not available in your region' insanity.

      I had an entertaining time last night trying to buy an ebook. The authors blog said it was available, as did the publishers newsletter, and a couple of reviewers I follow, but every site that purported to sell the book, in ebook or hardcover, just said 'This product cannot be delivered to your region.' Finally, I tracked down the Australian publishers site, which said that ebook version of their products were available through Amazon, and linked me to a page that said 'not available in your region, please c

    • by Zuriel (1760072)

      The biggest issue is availability. There are so many times where I have wanted to pay hard-earned cash for product only to be knocked back with 'not available in your region' insanity.

      This, absolutely. I can't believe how difficult it is to find a way to give some companies my money. There's Australian companies which let you place an order, then a partner living in the US orders the item from the US store to be shipped to their US residence, then the US partner ships it internationally to you. They make good money doing this. If you ever need proof that region locking is insane, point at those guys.

      • by jaminJay (1198469)

        There are some unscrupulous stores (not going to name and shame here as I'm now heading OT) whose physical product is segregated this way and they try to hide the fact that the very same product is being sold to American customers at significantly reduced prices in comparison to locally, in both their internet or brick-and-mortar stores.

        Solved by TOR + international PO Box forwarding, but what an unnecessary pain to avoid this ridiculous exclusion. People can be such greedy... no. Mustn't stoop to thei

  • Funds dried up since Microsoft has pulled out of the astroturf market? Want penalty rates for having to endorse such appalling subjects? Join the AWU, the Astroturf Workers Union, and at least get decent pay for your perfidy. Our charter: "We're not doing it for the money, we're doing it for a shitload of money!" (apologies to Mel Brooks)

    • Personally, I'm still waiting for my first payment.

      And my employment contract.

      And for my job position to actually exist first.

      The **AA doesn't care enough about your opinion to pay people to try and fail to change it. Get over yourself.

      • by dhammabum (190105)

        Really? You think all these pro-*AA comments are genuinely held views? And knowing the pathetic efforts the *AAs make to twist the debate? It makes a lot of sense to me astroturfing would be their next attack point. Though I agree, /. is an unlikely venue, but they are so clueless, they could easily waste effort here. Though not money, apparently. ;-)

        • Really? You think all these pro-*AA comments are genuinely held views?

          I'm not sure I've ever seen a pro-*AA comment here on slashdot. The closest I've ever seen, I think, are a very small number of my own posts, however they've more been anti-pirates than actually pro-*AA. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from believing that I'm a *AA shill, but honestly I don't care. The "shill" label has always been little more than an excuse to dodge inconvenient arguments without actually tackling their content.

  • by gstrickler (920733) on Monday April 16, 2012 @11:53PM (#39707313)

    First off, piracy cannot be stopped. Not by technological means, and not by legal means. Some people simply refuse to pay for it, and they will always pirate. There is nothing you can do to stop it, and you already have all the legal means necessary to address that issue.

    You can limit piracy to a small enough percentage that it doesn't materially affect sales. Make it easy to buy, easy to use, and cheap enough that, for most people, it's not worth the risk of getting caught making illegal copies.

    That's the only thing that has ever kept piracy under control, regardless of technology. Printed books were cheaper and more convenient than hand copied books. When the photocopier came out, it was generally more expensive (and tedious) to copy a book than to just buy a legitimate copy. Records and tapes were cheap, piracy wasn't a major issue. And while CDs were more expensive than records and tapes, they offered greater quality, greater durability, and no easy way to copy them while maintaining the quality, so piracy in CDs was mostly from professional counterfeiting groups (whom you have the legal tools to stop). There was no DRM, you could make personal use cassettes and MP3s from your CDs.

    Piracy started growing in the VCR age, because the movies were expensive. So, they introduced MacroVision, and the copy-prevention arms race began. They continued it with DVDs using CSS, and high release prices. Professional counterfeiting soared. Repeat mistake with HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Broadband internet access became common, and with prices still high for DVDs, digital piracy of DVDs started growing. People wanted to watch their DVD based movies on their newer portable digital devices, but they had no way to transfer the content, then they found they could download those movies. And if they were going to have to download a copy anyway, why buy the overpriced original that they weren't going to use?

    Started to repeat the same mistake with digital music downloads, but eventually conceded on DRM. Notice what happened to sales [wikipedia.org] after DRM was dropped from some labels starting in Jan 2007, they doubled, then doubled again in 2008, then when all the labels agreed to DRM free iTunes+ downloads in 2009, sales doubled again. How many billions of songs is Apple legally selling every year? ~4B. Granted, not all of that increase was due solely to removing DRM, but that was a key part of it. Apple's iTunes Store has also sold millions of feature length movies and hundreds of millions of TV episodes. Then, there is Amazon, licensed streaming music services, and other sellers.

    TL;DR
    Make it convenient, DRM free, and reasonably priced and 95%-99% of the potential market will pay for it. The ~1% who are committed to piracy will copy it no matter what you do. Technology changes rapidly, people are not willing to pay for the same material in a new format every few years, unless it's very cheap to do so. Until content distributors adapt a sales model that allows people to use their licensed media with any device they own that is capable of playing it, as many times as they wish to play it (or have a reasonable pay-per-view/rental model), piracy will continue to grow. All the attempts to limit it using DRM, technology, or laws will fail to slow piracy, in fact, they increase the incentive to seek out DRM free versions that are usually only available via "piracy". Resist that, and you'll soon find the market has gone elsewhere.

  • by gweihir (88907) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @12:52AM (#39707603)

    Intellectual property is a completely artificial construct, not a natural right at all. (Rather obviously. If you disagree, have a look into its history.) Artificial constructs need to be adjusted from time to time. As anybody is able to publish today without the help of the copyright industry, its time has passed and keeping it alive with legislation does a lot more damage than good. In the case of the patent industry this is becoming blatantly obvious as well with over-broad patents that have zero inventive value and only serve to sabotage the competition. In the case of the media copyright industry, there is no reason for their existence anymore.

    Also keep in mind that artists have no natural right to compensation, that is also a purely artificial construct. The classical model is that they perform, and if people like it, they can donate. Or they can sponsor artists. That model has worked pretty well throughput history and basically the development of all arts. The pay-before-you-consume model pushed by the copyright industry is basically an attempt to compensate for bad quality (that people would _not_ donate for afterwards) and unrestricted greed. Yet, there is absolutely no risk that artists that produce things people like starving. This has been demonstrated numerous times by now. In fact, unlimited distribution over the Internet serves to give more obscure artists an audience that they could never get any other way. And while artists have no right to compensation, keeping them happy and productive _is_ desirable. There is however also zero need for artists to get rich. That is a modern perversion that served to diverse cultural diversity and basically is pushed by people getting rich off artists.

    So there actually is not "riddle" to solve. There is just obsolete law to adjust, and not in favor of the copyright industry. Doing so would have tremendous cost, while the continued existence of the copyright industry has no benefit for society at all.

    • by Ash Vince (602485) *

      Intellectual property is a completely artificial construct, not a natural right at all.

      So is money, at least it is in the incarnation we ended up with.

      Unfortunately although the figures showing in my online banking account are a completely artificial construct, I still need a certain amount of them in order to keep myself alive. I also was very stupid in my youth and chose being a software developer as a career and so I only earn money by creating another completely artificial construct. It is very hard for me to now retrain as a farmer or carpenter without me or my family starving in the pro

      • by gweihir (88907)

        The problem is, that with regard to natural rights, it is not your work in the sense of a possession. You can use it, but so can everybody else that gets a copy. Restricting usage on the basis of who creates a good that can be copied without (significant) effort turns out to be more and more of a problem as it does not reflect factual reality. Even worse, quite often others are effectively prevented from creating the same good independently. That is just stupid. If your model of deriving an income requires

      • by alexo (9335)

        Without copyright you could take my work and use it without giving me any reward for having created it. That does not seem right to me for some reason.

        Fix your business model.

  • The job of the legal system is not to solve riddles or problems of society, but to enforce the laws.

  • There is a solution!

    1. Create a National Broadbank Network, call it NBN,
    2. spend billions of dollars forcing the entire country to migrate to it even though they're perfectly happy with ADSL
    3. Give control to Stephen Conroy put block off all the sites with ideas he disagrees with
    4. And give control to the Media cartel to shutdown anyone downloading content without paying them royalties

    Terrified? Ok.
    Don't panic.
    There is one more.

    5. Vote Labor out of existence, the Libs shut the wretched NBN thin

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.

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