Wednesday, 22 July 2015 13:10

Government undermines own piracy plan with new research: Choice Featured


A new report published by the Australian Government today effectively questions the wisdom of its own anti-piracy copyright infringement legislation.

The survey, prepared for the Department of Communications, found that the least effective option for stopping people from pirating would be receiving a letter from their Internet Service Provider saying their account would be suspended, with only 2 in 10 pirates saying this would change their behaviour.

Consumer advocate CHOICE says this option looks a lot like the industry-run ‘education notice’ scheme currently being pushed by the Federal Government.

Basically, the research strongly supports what consumers and the broadband service providers have been shouting from the rooftops to an apparently deaf political elite for several years - that access to cheaper legal content at the same time in Australia as it becomes available overseas would take the wind out of pirates’ sails.

“This flies in the face of the current industry plan to send ‘education notices’ to internet users who have allegedly pirated content,” says Matt Levey, CHOICE Director of Campaigns and Communications.

“Based on the Government’s own research, the education notice scheme that’s been submitted for approval is the least effective option for stopping piracy,” Mr Levey says.

“We have to ask why is the industry so keen to pursue this scheme when the research shows there are easier, better options available?”

According to the survey, the most effective options for encouraging people to stop accessing content unlawfully are market-based. The research found that:

  • 39% of digital content consumers would stop pirating if legal content was cheaper
  • 38% would stop if legal content was more readily available; and
  • 36% would stop pirating if overseas content was released at the same time in Australia.

“We’ve long known that price, availability and release delays are key factors that underpin rates of personal online copyright infringement in Australia,” says Mr Levey.

“We’re not at all surprised that the research shows a significant proportion of people say they would access content legally if it was available in a timely fashion and at a fair price.

“When we compare Australia to other jurisdictions, like the UK, it’s clear that local consumers have paid too much for too little content for too long.

“This survey was commenced before the launch of new TV streaming service Netflix into the local market.

“Based on these findings, it will be interesting to see the impact on rates of infringement once Australians have more affordable, immediate and flexible access to content than they have historically enjoyed through an expensive pay-TV monopoly,” Mr Levey says.

The proposed industry ‘education notice’ code was submitted for approval to the Australian Communications and Media Authority on 8 April 2015. The code has yet to be approved. CHOICE’s campaign against ineffective anti-piracy policies can be found at

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Stan Beer assists with Digital Advertising installation and monitoring of advert performance. With 35 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications. Any previous news story submissions should be director to and advertising enquires to

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