The film industry wants to tackle movie piracy to level the playing-field, not to avoid implementing new content delivery models, according to the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).
AFACT represents a number of high-profile movie studios. It took iiNet to the Federal Court over the copyright infringement activities of the ISP’s subscribers. iiNet won the case but AFACT submitted an appeal. The appeal verdict is due out tomorrow (Thursday).
IPSOS and Oxford Economics released a report on behalf of the anti-piracy group on the impacts of film piracy – in digital and physical forms – which they claimed cost the Australian economy $1.37 billion in lost revenue last year.
Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) was quick to issue its criticism of the report. The Internet rights advocacy group pointed out several problems it found with the study including the methodologies and challenged the validity of the figures given.
The EFA noted the movie industry is racking up massive profits and should concentrate on overcoming “restrictive trade practices” by making their films more accessible through new content delivery models rather than waste time on vilifying movie pirates.
AFACT has hit back at the EFA today releasing a lengthy statement in a bid to debunk the Internet rights group’s caustic criticism.
“The film community is not appealing for a free-ride,” AFACT said in a statement. “On the contrary, it is simply requesting a level playing field on which to conduct its business as would all other business communities.
“The argument that piracy can be condoned due to so called “current trade practices” is a red herring and is an excuse which is long past its use by date.
AFACT noted there are more than 27 legitimate businesses offering legal entertainment content online.
The anti-piracy group clarified the study did not count every illegal viewing of film content as a blow to the film industry and acknowledged a portion of individuals that do pirate movies invest in a legal version eventually. But the study still found 45 per cent of instances where a illegal copy of a film is viewed it resulted in a loss of revenue to movie studios.
The EFA had cited another report that showed “a vibrant sharing culture”, including file sharing, increased the amount of legal content consumed. AFACT has dismissed this report as pertaining more to the music industry which, according to the group, is a whole new ball game.
“The EFA’s assumption illegal file sharing could increase total sales for quality media is purely speculative and not based on research or market analysis,” AFACT said. “[Our study] looked at the lost incidence of sales for those who accessed a pirated version who would otherwise have purchased it.
“… The ability of the film industry to continue to deliver high quality entertainment to consumers in new and innovative ways is dependent on our ability to protect our content.”