Digital Thievery?

By Emily Woods

The ease and speed of downloading and streaming content for free has almost made owning a TV redundant.

I, like many students living away from home, cannot afford pay television. And perhaps I will never need to – considering these days, all one needs is a decent ADSL line, and a laptop.

The conclusion of big shows, like that show where a couple of guys cook ice (what’s it called again? I so rarely hear about it?), have spawned a media frenzy of: “Oh no, everyone is downloading, what has the world come to” reports.

“Australia had the biggest number of illegal downloads with 18 per cent, despite the show being screened on pay television,” one ABC online story says.

Perhaps if Australia’s free television screens weren’t a season behind, people would be less inclined to head online for the goods.

A couple of months ago News Limited’s CEO commented on digital theft. This could be because of News Ltd’s ties with foxtel, and fear of losing money from the previous ALP government’s NBN proposal. Williams called for new copyright laws to: “also protect the singers of songs, writers of books and producers of games”.

So what about writers? Like for example those at Fairfax, who had their words stolen from News Ltd’s The Australian? Yes, in this case, greater copyright laws could lessen the problem of digital-theft

I think a rival newspaper, read across Australia, stealing work off their competition (who only circulate in one state) – is far worse than those sitting at home, watching TV online, that they cannot get on their own TV sets.

Australians might be the most “prolific pirates”, according to Sydney Morning Herald’s Adam Turner, but we have good reason. Australia needs to get with the times.

Adam also mentions, in his blog piece: “when you study the TV ratings figures it’s clear that the Internet is yet to put a serious dent in traditional viewing numbers”.

For a laugh, watch what the IT Crowd thinks about “Piracy” ads.

Netflix, still not available in Australia.

Recently, some channels have been advertising “fast-tracked from the US”, but this is often with shows like Modern Family, and Homeland. What about Brooklyn Nine-Nine? Parks and Recreation?

30 Rock was one of the best comedies in modern history (according to sources… okay me and my friends) and it had to cop an 11:30pm time-slot on a secondary channel (Channel Seven’s Mate).

Get with the program Australian TV.

The media should cut us some slack. If Netflix or Hulu were available “outside of the U.S” more would pay for their viewing.

Are you happy with Aussie free-tv? Would you pay to watch online, if Netflix were available? Let us know below.


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