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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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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Re:biased article (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JoeMerchant (803320) on Monday April 16, 2012 @11:14PM (#39707141) Homepage

    Publishing a copy of a book (without permission) was a crime in 1799, and it should still be a crime today. The author, and original publisher, are both damaged by lost revenue from their more difficult endeavor of creating the original content. Just because every person who has $500 to buy a PC can now copy huge digital works for fractions of a penny, does not erase the essence of intellectual property and its benefits.

    The stupid extension of copyright duration and ridiculous relaxation of patent examination standards in recent years are also crimes that should be rectified, even if we will never be able to properly punish the perpetrators.

    If "DRM free" really is a better way, let it prove itself in parallel with a respected DRM world. Ripping off DRM'ed works does nothing to prove the benefits of a completely DRM free world.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @12:11AM (#39707393)

    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 contact your local publisher.'

    So I'm sorry, I tried to buy the book, I wasted two hours trying to buy the book, but the people the author has signed up with have made it so I can only see the advertising, not the product. At that point I'd wasted enough time that it was too late to cook dinner, so my local Chinese take-away got my money, not Amazon or Penguin Australia or any of the other book sellers who could have had it.

  • 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: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 [], 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.

  • Regulatory capture (Score:3, Interesting)

    by barv (1382797) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @01:46AM (#39707835) Journal

    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 regulatory capture (see Wikipedia) and because the technology to copy was expensive, nobody cared much.

    But the markets have grown. And the time to get the product to market has shrunk. And the copy technology has gotten very cheap.

      So to get the same reward, artists only need to charge one tenth or one hundredth the price from each sale.

    But the bad old mpaa and Riaa and the rest have gotten used to getting big $ for their property. They don't want to lose their Porsches and Malibu beach house.

    Look fellas. The game is up. Go find another scam. The artists are already direct selling. The writing is on the wall.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:40AM (#39707983)

    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.

  • by Gadget_Guy (627405) * on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:43AM (#39707995)

    I still don't understand the reason for the delay in airing North American shows in Australia.

    The content provides would not want their shows appearing in the small Australian market prior to it being broadcast in the much larger (and more lucrative) US market. Staying too close the the US shedules (eg. within a week of the US broadcast) mean that the any interruption in the schedule would have to be mirrored in the Australian schedule (including the bizarre "lets-cut-the-season-in-half" that is so annoying). If they provide themselves with a buffer of a couple of weeks delay, then people will just download the shows anyway.

    Australian networks have experimented with "fast-tracked" broadcasting. They don't seem to do it much now, which suggests that it didn't have a large impact on the viewing figures. I guess it is still easier to download shows and watch them when and where you want than have to bother with live broadcast (with ads), although a PVR solved that problem for me.

  • by Cimexus (1355033) on Tuesday April 17, 2012 @02:47AM (#39708013)

    The delay is simply because the Australian TV networks have buy the content off the American producers. For the bulk of shows, they wait and see how well it does in the US before spending the money to buy it. They let the US audiences do the audience testing then make a judgement whether it's worth them buying it or not (so we don't get that phenomenon you see in the US sometimes where a show starts and only lasts a few weeks then gets cancelled).

    For some popular shows though, they buy them ahead of time, and for those shows we get them ASAP (within a day or two). For instance we get the Wednesday 'Late Late Show' on Thursday (which is actually as quick as is possible due to the time zone difference - the Wednesday shows airs in the US around lunchtime Thursday Australian time).

Computers are unreliable, but humans are even more unreliable. Any system which depends on human reliability is unreliable. -- Gilb