I was recently given the task of writing a feature article for English in the previous week. I chose to deal with the issue of Piracy as it is close to home as many of my friends admit to pirating music and movies illegally. I am sure that everyone has pirated something once or twice in their lives, and I admit that I have done it but now I see that it was wrong and why. Also, now I am more aware of the consequences pirating has on the industry of Australia and overseas.
Could your neighbour be a pirating scoundrel?
After the release of much anticipated movies and television shows, the Australian Movie and Music industry was shocked to find their jobs on the line, all because people loved their work so much.
Not long after the release of the well-awaited fourth season of “Game of Thrones”, the statistics have come back in revealing some shocking results concerning pirating. This information may not surprise some, but will come as a shock to others. Australian citizens are the top Internet pirates, with more than 18% of all download are illegal. Scientists and politicians alike are now seriously trying to find a solution to Australia’s illegal Internet activity.
Why are people pirating?
In the world today, and with the rise of National Broadband Network (NBN) people have greater access to the internet and the files and secrets that it holds. Why? The answer lies in cost and availability. Companies such as Itunes, Foxtel and Netflix sell, view and rent movies, music and television shows for a reasonable amount of money each month. The problem though is the cost. Itunes sells a single television show, at standard-definition, for $2.99, to get it in high-definition you have to pay $3.49. This is what is putting people off. They do not want to pay that much money for something they can download, or buy for half the price. Illegal download sites such as Torrent Freak sell illegally obtained music, movies and TV shows for 50c, $2 and $1 respectively. This is less than half the price of what you can get with iTunes, which sells music (on average) for $2.19.
The excuse of it costing to much is weak. If these people wanted a certain piece of music, a movie or television show so much why don’t they spend the money on it then? However, cost is not the only problem, as mentioned earlier availability is also an issue. Take the most pirated television show ever, for example; Game of Thrones. One of the key reasons why it was so widely downloaded illegally was because this very, very popular show is restricted to Foxtel. This means that if viewers want to watch Game of Thrones they have to sign up to Foxtel, which isn’t always in everyone’s price range. Also, many people pirate because of Geo-Blocking. Geo-Blocking is when companies such as iTunes restrict a person to purchasing music, films and TV shows in their country and currency. This means that people cannot pretend to be in America and download whatever they want for less money. It also means that songs, movies and TV shows are released earlier in certain time zones. Moreover, if a downloader wants to sell their illegally download media, they can synchronise the release time with the bigger, legal companies.
Shocking Figures and Predictions
In 2011 Sphere Analysis (S.A.), a business aimed at helping companies make decisions that will affect their futures, wrote an article on how the rise of internet pirating will affect Australian and worldwide businesses. In Australia today the industry of music, film, publishing, games and software development employs over 540,000 people. This industry also makes more than $70 billion each year; it accounts for 5% of the Australian Workforce, 7.3% of gross domestic product and over 1% of Australian exports. However, now with the rollout of the NBN more people are given the opportunity to use the internet for illegal activity. The SA have also found that more than 27.8% of Australians using the NBN have admitted to illegally downloading movies, music, games and TV shows.
In March 2010, the European based firm TERA Consultants released a report that was brought to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) on the national and international affect piracy will have on the European Union. It is the most thorough report ever done and hides no secrets. The countries that TERA focused on included Germany, the UK, France, Spain and Italy. These countries have much in common with Australia such as size and population, unlike America where many comparisons are made by similar reports. The TERA report predicts that in 2008 and onwards the EU lost more than 186,600 jobs as a consequence of the rise of Internet piracy. They also believe that this number will increase by 2015 from 186,600 to more than 1.2 million.
Scientists and Politicians alike predict that by 2016 internet piracy will cause 40,000 jobs to be lost, the industry will loose $18 billion, and more than 8 million people will access the internet and use it to download content illegally.
The Ultimate Cost
The movie, music and television industry employs thousands of people. People who need money to feed themselves, their families and pay for daily living. Their jobs and money have been put at risk because people do not want to spend the money on buying their handiwork. Thousands of men and women around the world have lost their jobs because of illegal download sites such as Torrent Freak, which have yet to be taken down. But what has been done about it?
It seems the government hasn’t done much about pirating. The Websites such as Torrent Freak are still up and running, making money off other people’s work. Many people who do download such illegally obtained items say that if the website that they got it from has not been shut down by now they have every right to do so. Also, most of these websites state that they are legal, that what they are doing is okay. They are wrong. Never think that if the site indicates that what they are doing is allowed by the government or law does not mean that you can download anything you want. There are copyright laws and regulations; some enable you to download internet content for educational and informative purposes but only a small, a meagre percent of people who download illegally do it for this purpose.
The Government has mentioned retaliating against the piracy act by removing piracy sites, but nothing seems to have been done. Or has it? One of the reasons behind the rise in piracy is the now ever available “Pay-Tv”. It could also be the solution. Statistics shows that now with the release of the highly acclaimed “Netflix” has eased the tide of the illegal downloads. It is cheaper than other cable TV networks, and it broadcasts a much wider range of music, movies and Television shows. TERA Consultants predict that with the rise of Netflix the rate of the illegal downloads will reduce rapidly.
None of this would happen without the cooperation of the public. But how? Raising awareness is the key, letting people know what Piracy is doing to the lives of thousands of people, ruining them, taking their money. Why? Because their work is loved so much, too much.
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