Google To Malcolm Turnbull: Piracy Is An 'Availability And Pricing Problem'

Australia has become notorious for its pirating ways, regularly 'most piratey' lists when it comes to shows like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones. So what's the solution: is it the carrot or the stick? Overly harsh regulations or the promotion of new business models?

Google seems to have a very definitive opinion.

In a letter sent to Malcolm Turnbull, Google Australian head of public policy Iarla Flynn urged the Australian government to refrain from committing to overly harsh regulation, particularly when it comes to piracy.

"[W]e believe there is significant, credible evidence emerging that online piracy is primarily an availability and pricing problem," he explained.

"We would encourage the Government to promote new business models and a free marketplace for legal purchasing of content. We would be disappointed if the Government decided to go down the route of overly harsh regulation to combat piracy without considering the evidence from around the world that this would likely be costly for businesses to implement and with little effect."

Surely this would apply to games. When an issue like piracy or importing rears its head in Australia the instinctual response always seems to be 'crush this scary new thing, protect the status quo' when we really should be consumer focused in our thinking. Why do people pirate video games and shows? Could it be — gasp — that it's often easier to do that than mess about with products that are completely anti-consumer at their core?

I choose to believe that, in this regard, people generally want to do the right thing. All too often it's difficult to do the right thing. Enable us, don't beat us down with regulations.


Comments

    It's both pricing and availability. I never used to buy games, and then I was able to import PS3 games for $15-30 per game. Now I have over 30 PS3 titles. Why? Because the price became reasonable and I could justify spending my money on a frivolous entertainment product. Haven't found that with TV yet, maybe if Game of Thrones was $10/season I'd pay for it.

      $10 a season? I understand the yearning for lower pricing, but I think you've exaggerated that number a bit much...

        Don't know about that - pay TV is what, $60/month for 24 hours a day of content on dozens of channels. If a person watches, say, 20 major shows in a year then something in the $10-20 range per season of each seems about right (assuming digital distribution).

          It's not so clear cut as this, there is also advertising revenue that has to be taken into account, and for anyone who has watched anything on Foxtel, you know there is a huge amount of advertising.

          I think $20/season would be the best we could hope for.

            I happily paid 20 something dollars for the season of game of thrones on itunes last year. May have been closer to $30, but that is pretty cheap.
            I got more than $3 worth of entertainment out of every episode for sure. This year Foxtel has made sure that I have to pirate it instead. Stupid, just Stupid. Google is right on the money with this one.

            give me $1 an episode and i will pay that with no hesitation.

            $2 is as high as i would go, then maybe if 30min shows were $1 and hour long were $1.5 or $2

              The cost producing shows like GoT and Breaking Bad, has been reported at over $6 and $3 million per episode, respectively. Charging only $1 would not be viable, and you would never see shows of such high quality. The extremely talented individuals, producing these programs would probably move on to where they can make more money.

          I didn't say it was against what one could want - just that it's highly unrealistic. Even if things do improve, you're not going to be paying $1 per readily-available episode of Game of Thrones any time soon.
          Besides, you can't assume that in paying $60+/month, the pricing is distributed so evenly amongst all channels and shows therein. Game of Thrones likely accounts for a great number of subscriptions to related HD channels in their respective bundles; advertising also skews the pricing a bit. There's not really a way to split it from the rest of Foxtel's repertoire and think of it as $X/season.

          Whereas paying something like $10/season for some form of digital pass is simply unrealistic, as I mentioned earlier.

          Last edited 11/03/14 4:54 pm

            I paid $3 an episode for Blu-Rays.

            10 Episodes a Season, $30 each. Honestly seems worth it to me.

              $30 sounds more likely than $10. And that's pretty close to the price you can expect to pay for the retail release anyhow.

                That was retail, I purchased Seasons 1, 2 & 3 at JB Hifi.

      I don't know about you guys but I would gladly pay a chunk of money, much more than netflix to be to stream TV and Movies. I have ZERO desire to own any content, but I'm willing to pay for the ability to stream a wide range of content.

      The film and TV industry in Australia needs to wake up and pick up it's game, in a similar way the music industry FINALLY did with Spotify and similar programs.

      Recipe: Grab unotelly add Hulu and Netflix - bring to the boil. Done.

    Just look at Steam. That alone must have cut down PC game piracy a tonne. I can remember way back in the day pirating games, but I never bother now because it's so much more convenient to buy it for a reasonable price on Steam, have it in my library forever, auto-updates, easy mutliplayer, etc.

    Give us something like that for shows and I'll be in for sure! And I guarantee a lot of other people will be too.

      Totally, when I first started playing more PC games in like 07 Steam was not the juggernaut it is now and I often pirated games, now I don't think I've pirated a game in like 5 years because of how easy Steam is.

        Agreed. Used to pirate a lot but over the Las 5 or more years with steam I can't remember the last game I didn't buy.

      With the small exception being that I don't buy direct from Steam a lot of the time (thanks to regional pricing), I agree with you. Finding a torrent etc is harder than checking out on Steam.

        I am with you here. The Steam price bloat in Australia is horrendous. It is exactly the same digital content as anywhere else in the world, yet we get a fat "tax" thrown onto our games so we don't put retail stores out of business.

        Its not piracy, but its still "importing" to buy games from sites like GreenmanGaming, GetGamesGo, OzGameShop - they all sell Steam activated games and often have different specials than Valve do.

        If you don't think its so bad, have a look at what the rest of the world pays for your favourite titles here: http://www.steamprices.com/au/topripoffs

      ^this, i used to pirate stuff ages ago before i got regular work and more importantly steam. this year i think my steam collection will get past 1000 games

      Last edited 11/03/14 10:36 pm

    What? But that means places like Foxtel won't be able to sew up the Australian market for Game of Thrones!!

    That will take a great deal of money away from a struggling business like Foxtel, as everybody will rush out and buy Foxtel packages for that one show, especially if Foxtel packages it up with channels nobody wants. It makes the consumer pay good money, and helps small businesses that are struggling through no fault of their own, especially as no fault of their business practices, in a global marketplace.

    Really it makes incredibly sensible logic from a business perspective, right guys?

    Guys?

    ...where are you going? Was it something I said? What are you looking at - what is this Piratebay...

    ...guys?

    Last edited 11/03/14 1:12 pm

      If you missed it, the Checkout nails Foxtel here:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJoqqKuymYE

    Resellers and distributors across the nation have already carved out a niche here and will stubbornly refuse any changes to the current model.

    I will still have to pay top dollar for a bloody launch game featuring Mario.

    I will still have to pay top dollar for supposedly cutting edge gaming consoles lacking in features designed for other, larger markets.

    I will still have to pay top dollar for software that assists in game development, yet receive sub-standard after sales service.

    I choose to pay these amounts, and I also then have complete and total ownership over the product.

    If you are talking services, which games are fast being turned into, that is another discussion.

      You might want to read through the games licence agreement when you buy a game you buy the licence to play the game, you do not own the game.

        Only because they said so. You can bet book-sellers would sell their right arm to have had the foresight to sell 'licences' to books instead of books as a tangible product, just like game on a DVD.
        There's fuck all difference between digital data burned to a disc and printed words pressed to a page, but somehow the game industry wrote themselves a bullshit, "We don't have to play by those rules because we'd MUCH rather play by these other rules."

        Germany is one of the few countries that's fighting that ruling, observing that if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it is a duck - a product. Just like if you can sell a CD retail, and put it in various devices, then it IS a product, not a licence.

        They're claiming they're exempt from the rules because they said so. That's it. It's trickery, and there's no moral value to it.

      I choose to pay these amounts, and I also then have complete and total ownership over the product.

      Ever read your Terms and Conditions? Software and games these days are more of a "rental agreement" than actual ownership. A lot of them have a clause stating that the company can stop distribution of the software/game at anytime without refunding costs to you.

    You can't blame the governments take on this, piracy just like any other victimless crime like jaywalking, drug use, prostitution etc that you can't rely on peoples honest intentions since theirs no tangible remorse over the act so unless their are real consequences it's just going to grow exponentially

    Trying to fix the deeper reasons for piracy such as availability and pricing can help the matter, but simply put some people just want stuff for free if they can get away with it.

      Increase convenience and availability won't stop piracy. You're right, nothing will. However, there's a strong indication that it will reduce it significantly. One often used example of this is iTunes - it made getting music as easy as piracy (relative to purchasing physical media from a store) while being much safer than the pirate route. It was also generally cheaper (again, relatively speaking) than other non-free options.

      Last edited 11/03/14 1:28 pm

        Agree on that part. If a band releases a new album, but 8 out of 10 songs suck, then I am happy to pay $2 for those 2 songs that I actually like, as opposed to $20 (or 30) for the whole disk.
        Same with TV shows - Give us netflix and Hulu, and we will pay $7 a month for it.

          Yep, I've been buying music on Google Play since it's had music. Used to pirate all of it before. I still refuse to use iTunes.

            Protip: iTunes max bitrate is 256kbps, Google Play is 320kbps. :)

              Pirate tip:
              flac from torrent site - Lossless

                Person who cares about the people who make the music-tip:
                You can get almost ANY format you want (flac/AAC/MP3 etc) from bands on Bandcamp and most of the time pay anything you want, depending on what you think it's worth.

                  Agreed! Bandcamp is usually my first stop when searching for music

        As Rize says - convenience and good prices pretty much killed my desire to pirate. I can now access the games I want through multiple online storefronts, and with a little ingenuity I can access Movie and TV channels online. I am happy to pay the small amounts I am, and know I am still supporting the content producers etc.

        I wonder if the govt will listen to Google?

      1. Lower prices, so people who wanna easily get it for decent price will.
      2. Result: piracy lowered.
      3. Action was taken, so media will stop spewing the same bullshit and giving more people an idea that piracy is even possible.
      4. Result: piracy lowered.
      5. Actually stop being stupid 1900's government and implement changes that help us embrace the future, e.g. internet data caps.
      5. Result: piracy lowered, due to #1 being even more accessible.

        Are you saying we don't already have internet caps?

          I mean we need to reduce/eliminate them. They need to be exponentially raised for fibre.

      Drug use is a symptom, not a problem. Treating it as a criminal offense has led to greater and greater issues. Since we started treating it with a mind toward harm minimisation, the negative effects of drug use in Australia have been significantly lessened. There has been no huge jump in drug related harm by not treating drug addicts as criminals.

      Prostitution was legalised in NSW in 1988 and was further relaxed in the mid 90s. Since then, we've seen a marked decrease is drug and organised crime issues in the sex work industry, provided a lucrative new tax revenue for government, and lowered the overall risk of sexually transmitted infections in the state. There has been no huge jump in sex-work related harm since decriminalising prostitution.

      Jaywalking doesn't really exist in Australia. We have a small fine that can possibly be given to someone who is observed not crossing the road in a direct fashion, but even that has been largely unpoliced for as long as anyone can remember. There has been no real presence of harm in relation to the non-existent "jaywalking" phenomenon.

      The deeper reasons for these "crimes" is that by treating people as criminals, but giving them no really accessible way to do otherwise creates criminals. There will always be people who do the wrong thing in every single part of human existence.

      You should also look up the definition of "exponential".

        Exponential means rapid rate/growth if your problem with the word is the poor fit with the increasing piracy rate in Australia than maybe I should assume your never been in an argument/debate or even heard a politician speak where these type of under/over-exaggerations are commonplace.

        Despite those examples of victimless crimes I gave are pretty unrelated to victimless crimes such as piracy it still doesn't change my point that crimes where their is no remorse or shame over the act you can't rely on "people generally want to do the right thing" since they don't think they're doing anything accountable in the first place since no-one tangibly is being harmed.

          Your points don't make any sense. You said that not clamping down leads to exponential growth. That is very obviously not the case in every single one of your examples. Why would something that doesn't have tangible negative effects be a crime anyway? By criminalising it, you manufacture negative effects.

          Software and music piracy took huge hits with the implementations of Steam and iTunes respectively. Clamping down doesn't lessen the problem. Making a convenient, fairly priced alternative that minimises the need for illicit channels does.

          You have a childish and oversimplified definition of 'victimless crime' if you think drug abuse doesn't hurt anyone. I'm all for decriminalising drugs and rehabilitating users because the war on drugs is so ineffectual, but I've also witnessed firsthand the effects of drug use on families so don't you dare try to claim that it doesn't hurt anyone. Try telling the next mother you meet whose son periodically steals her jewelry or car to feed his habit.

            Ask anyone on the streets what they think a victimless crime is and they will most likely mention the topics above, are you really going to scorn me with platitudes over a general/basic definition? unless you have a better word to explain crimes where someone isn't immediately victimized I can't be succinct on the matter.

            Last edited 11/03/14 9:56 pm

              Argumentum ad populum. What is popular is not necessarily right, much less something as fickle and ignorant as public opinion. If this is the basis of your moral compass, you have another thing coming. "Victimless Crime" is a phrase that is misused by people like yourself to rationalise things like pirating content, based on the flimsy premise that 'it doesn't hurt anyone!' Bullshit, Bruno. It's piracy, plain and simple. Your offensively broad generalisations and attempt to to equate jaywalking and drug use, so they can both be safely condoned is truly laughable.

                If i'm reading the second half of this statement correctly it sounds like your agreeing with my original claim, I never at one point said victimless crimes were okay you moron, I was making a statement that victimless crimes need to be enforced down due to lack of consequences over the act since people see them as faceless entities, if you weren't so hung up over a dumb definition you might of realized that.

                  Piracy just like any other victimless crime like jaywalking, drug use, prostitution etc that you can't rely on peoples honest intentions

                  I'm taking issue with your gross misuse of the phrase 'victimless crime' from your very first post. If your definition includes 'drug use,' you're wrong. If you're attempting to play the devil's advocate, you're also doing it incorrectly. If you're trying to put forth this fiction that most people can't grasp the concept of guilt because it's HBO, you're not giving them enough credit.

      I don't want to be 'that guy' and this is going to sound more than slightly hypocritical, but piracy is not a 'victimless crime.' Content creators make nice stuff not only so the world can enjoy it, but make money too because they also need to eat. If you're just endlessly torrenting their content, they're not getting anything in return.

      And before I hear this juvenile "I had no intention of buying it anyway, so they're not losing money!" canard... you obviously cared enough to pirate the damned thing. Time was, if you couldn't afford something, you learned to do without. You're not entitled to the 'right' of stealing shit just because you can and it's too expensive.

      Now, there's a case to be made that shows like Game of Thrones are pirated because of the difficulty in purchasing a la carte cable content, so of course people pirate it. That said, it doesn't hurt to eventually buy the Blu-Rays or DVDs come out, because people should be rewarded for good work.

        Does 'Content Creator', 'HBO' ' sound like a tangible victim to you? which is exactly why it is a victim-less crime or a pseudo-victimless crime if you prefer regardless it doesn't change my point that people feel no remorse over acts against a faceless entity.

        Last edited 11/03/14 10:15 pm

          What a stupid comment. Of course HBO is a victim when their content is stolen because it means their return of investment for creating something like Game of Thrones is diminished. Despite what you seem to think, companies aren't just entities that exist purely to hoard money like a dragon, they pay peoples salaries and encourage further content creation when people reward them for good work.

            Is this usually how you create arguments? through insults and disdain? I never said they weren't a victim ergo why I put the word 'tangible' there in the eyes of the law they are seen as a intangible entity which is why I was making points about the average consumers perception of piracy against a intangible entity - I was trying to express what is wrong about it.

            This is exhausting to argue so don't be surprised if I fail to retort again.

        You'll possibly also find that a lot of folks use 'victimless crime' to refer to victims who they couldn't give a shit about.

        Try watching MTV Cribs sometime and summoning any degree of sympathy whatsoever for the 'food taken out of the mouths' of the stars showing off their mansions.

          True, but for me to say "Game of Thrones deserves money but MTV Cribs deserves to be pirated" is morally presumptuous. If idiots want to watch garbage, then by all means, let the free market sort itself out. I find this attitude from some people blatantly misusing 'victimless crime' so mind-bogglingly stupid and ignorant, then I remember this is gaming blog that attracts all types.

      I don't get why downvotes put people in moderation. Maybe to prevent excessive trolling before a moderator can get to it? But that's what the 'report' button is for. The downvote is for drive-by, "Nope, you're wrong/I don't like what you said/how you said it."

      I'll downvote someone if I can't be bothered arguing/it's already been done/I've argued this one infinitely. It's poor form (for the regulars here, anyway) to downvote someone you're in the process of arguing with. And given your confusion expressed elsewhere, I'll pull mine and reply in full:

      The specific comment here is highly dismissive though, which is why I downvoted it and moved on, initially.

      Maybe you don't get why people think that, so I'll explain:

      Theft has existed since the dawn of time when one creature had something another creature wanted, and will never, ever, ever be stamped out, which is true of piracy, but there are steps you can take to reduce your chances of being burgled.

      If you have giant stacks of cash and luxuries on display in your window and run around the place gloating about how you have such nice things and that no-one else except your special friends can have them, the solution to your repeated break-ins is not to have the cops on speed-dial and demand that there be more vigilant patrols outside your house and stiffer penalties (which is what the content providers are effectively demanding), so that you can continue acting like a fucking jackhole. The solution is to stop making yourself such a godamn target.

      (Edit: And to extend this analogy, the content providers don't even want to step up their own security because then they'd have to pay for it, so they're asking the government to foot the bill, too. Which is a cost/time-sink that will probably be passed on to ISPs if the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty is signed in its current state.)

      Sympathizing with the government in this instance because, "Oh, people will just pirate anyway," is outright writing off the valid complaints of folks here against the government implementing excessive policing/penalties to coddle the content providers who are practically inviting piracy with their aggressively hostile anti-consumer policies. To write these complaints off as the 'excuses' of people who will just go ahead and pirate anyway is an (perhaps unintentionally) insulting excuse for the content providers to continue with their unacceptable behaviour. They are not the helpless victims here. They are bullies who are getting what's coming to them, but in an unfortunately illegal way.

      The difference in natural justice and juxtaposition to the implementation of law as the layman understands it is this:
      If you left giant stacks of cash in your window and got burgled, the cops are going to tell you to your face that you're a fucking idiot (they might use nicer language) and don't do it if you don't want to get burgled. But our politicians aren't doing that, they're just bowing and scraping to their corporate masters, as opposed to the voters who they're supposed to both serve and answer to. So it's not just that dissonance of one rule for us, one rule for the large corporations. It's also an issue of a breach of public trust, our interests are very publicly being ignored in favour of overseas companies who are providing jack shit benefit to Australia.

      Last edited 12/03/14 11:45 am

      Jaywalking, Drug Use and Prostitution all have victims.

      For Jaywalking it's the guy who can't stop in time and have to live the rest of his life knowing he killed somebody. Sometimes being harassed by the Jaywalkers family.

      For Drug Use it's the people who die from Drugs.

      For Prostitution it's people forced into doing it.

      Piracy is stealing, therefore not victimless, This doesn't mean we aren't getting screwed on pricing.

      I agree with your final sentence but, there are people out there who will spend $50 to pirate a movie they could buy for $6.

    Happy to pay for Game of Thrones. Not happy to pay for Foxtel. How many more times will the Libs jump when Rupert has a sookie sookie la la?

    Well done, Google. Nailed it.

      Yeah, pretty much this. We are being force fed a broadcast model of TV where you have to buy the whole package.

      For example, I would love to have the choice of paying for a few HBO shows plus live AFL. But no way known am I going to pay for all the other crap on Foxtel just to get that.

      The government should look at ways to break Foxtel's hold on content in Australia if it wants to tackle piracy.

        The government should look at ways to break Foxtel's hold on content in Australia if it wants to tackle piracy.

        That means giving subsities to new cable start ups. If the Coalition was not going to issue handouts to the automotive industry, why would they give such handouts to an entertainment provider?

        This is coming about because Foxtel has been allowed to become a monopoly and now has the clout to starve any new offering of content by either buying up the licenses or bullying existing content providers if they think about offering licenses to the new providers.

        This is what Netflix is facing: studios either won't offer an acceptable price for distribution down here or Foxtel is threatening to terminate broadcasts if the studio plans to offer content to Netflix here.

          Government intervention doesn't have to be in the form of cash subsidies. They could impose regulations forbidding Foxtel from signing exclusive deals with studios, or require the studios to provide the content on equal terms to other delivery services.

            That I would like to see. But say the did for a moment.

            The next thing that will happen is they will be lampooned for not letting the market self regulate.

            I see where you are going but, truth be told, I feel that the only solution out of this is a complete crash of the market like that of the video game industry in 1983.

            Virtually, we need Foxtel to collapse on itself and get written off so that new providers can get in without the monopolistic clout getting in the way.

              There are lots of examples of cases where governments have intervened to prevent a companies from abusing their monopoly positions. Often these regulations specifically target the monopoly company, preventing them from doing things at their competitors can still do. This is generally seen as an attempt to correct a situation where the free market capitalism doesn't result in the best outcomes.

              Some examples of regulated monopolies include Telstra's coper network and Microsoft's bundling of its web browser with its OS.

              Foxtel probably counts as a monopoly in the pay TV market (it depends on whether FetchTV counts as a viable substitute). If so, is it using that monopoly to unfairly interfere with the digital download market?

                The telecommunications industry is a good example. I don't know if it's the case currently, but in the early days of privatization and competition, Telstra was restricted from price-drops and being too competitive in pricing, because with the brand power and benefits of infrastructure ownership, there wouldn't have BEEN any competition. They could've just priced themselves into maintaining the monopoly.

    I bought Season 9 of HIMYM on Xbox Video, costs about $80. I don't mind the price, because I feel it's worth the value of the entertainment and hours I get out of the season.

    But here's my gripe, the new episodes don't come out on Xbox Video until about 4-6 weeks later after they're aired. This is because of exclusive agreements the production company has made with networks in Australia.

    I am a paying customer, but do they think I live in some sort of vacuum? I am aware of when new episodes are released and I am never going to wait for the timeslot on TV and watch it through there while being subject to ads, this is 2014, I am prepared to pay for on-demand content that I own.

    What stops me from going to one of the thousands of streaming sites or piratebay to illegal stream/download the episode? The production company making this deal should realize that the people who watch TV to get new episodes are rarely the same people who get their content on-demand, they are creating an environment that results in people pirating the content.

    Last edited 11/03/14 1:24 pm

      I bought Season 9 of HIMYM
      You sicken me.

        Hey now, let's not attack each others tastes. Or are you attacking me because I choose to buy it and not pirate it?

      Set up your torrent with RSS or something. Easy as to get. Watch it. Pay for it when it comes out.

      I'm not that familiar with Xbox Video, but you spent $80 for one season of HIMYM? Is that including a subscription fee or something? That price is kind of insane otherwise.

        No subscription (I'm not entirely sure if Gold is required for Xbox Video on the Xbox as I always have gold, I don't think it is though), it's $70 for the latest season in HD. However, that purchase means I can watch it on-demand via stream or download across my Windows 8 desktop, Lumia 920, Surface and Xbox One using native services, as well as being able to watch it on a range of other devices devices with a web browser using the web tool (video.xbox.com).

        For me, considering it's 12 hours of entertainment with replay value, no ads, and the convenience of it fitting into my ecosystem of choice and the surprisingly good servers/encoding which leaves me rarely buffering on my shitty connection (unlike the multitude of illegal streaming sites I've tried that take forever to buffer), it's value for my money. The seasons get cheaper the older they are though.

        But again, my gripe is how publishers deal with exclusivity licensing in Australia and how they treat digital and TV customers as one group. Also worth noting that the publisher sets the price too.

          was it available on dvd/blu-ray for less than $70?
          you would just have to do the encoding yourself, which is quick and easy these days

    Price and availability will go a long way to minimise piracy but like people have said some of us just want thingsfor free. Personally, I look at what the ufc did recently as a perfect example. Previously I could purchase a fight night for $12 and watch the Prelims. Now they have decided to black out most of the fight nights in Australia unless you have foxtel and ufc fight pass for the Prelims. So the price went from 12 to roughly 60 per month. It's absolute garbage however I don't want to pirate as I feel that the fighters deserve the money however some people don't think like that. I've now gone to epl on demand where I can pay 80 for the entire season so now I'm just waiting for that to be canned!

    Personally I don't see an issue to torrent a show to watch it if you actually intend to purchase the DVD/BR later in the year when the world finally realizes Australia is a country too and decide to release the content here.

    But Yes I have to agree that it totally is pricing and availability that are the important factors. Who in their right mind would subscribe to a foxtel service that still airs the show several hours after it's initial airing OS (Availability) and you have to pay for crap you aren't interested in (Pricing).

    Last edited 11/03/14 2:17 pm

    This past weekend I built a PC finally powerful enough to play the games I've bought in a few sales on Steam and in physical shops.

    The DRM that I need to go through just to get the bloody things working (looking at you, Games for Windows Live) is making me question why I didn't pirate all of this in the first place.

      GFWL has been discontinued. As far as I can tell we're either going to see the games updated to remove the requirement, or they're going to become entirely unplayable.

      Hurrah for DRM! Bunch of jerks.

        Oh I know it's been discontinued, that's what makes it annoying. I've had the displeasure of using it when it was still up though, and it wasn't much better than it is now.

    I always thought a good model would be a subscription for a season (say like $40). At the end of the season you could opt to have a blu-ray copy of it sent to you for an extra $20 or something. I buy everything I genuinely enjoy on BD/DVD when it becomes available, however it's usually downloaded in the first instance to be part of the conversation.

    Modern media is a victim of it's own hype machine.

      Boom! Solution right there. That is exactly how we consume our media. It's the only way I can directly give *some* money to hbo/amc etc to let them know I'm willing to support them in making new content without using a vpn etc.

        Could even take it further. Instead of just streaming have a locally based AES encrypted bucket which your new EP's get downloaded to (something that you couldn't get into without access to the services master key). Could even take the load of bandwidth costs by using an integrated torrent solution like the blizzard downloader.

      That's kind of how Telltale games do things, you can buy the digital copies of their games and then for a bit more cash have the DVD version shipped once they finish the season

      ^ This is the solution, right here.

      I download shows I watch and then I buy the Bluray when it becomes available. Ifthere was a subscription service that didn't put money in the pocket of a government destabilising plutocrat, I'd be all over it.

    Pricing is my problem after many years of getting media the alternative way I went out searching for the complete series of lost the only place that had it was sanity and they wanted $100 per season just wanted out and said "I remember now why I pirate cheers guy" and will continue to do so

      I think you'll have much better luck buying your media online, even from Aussie sites. Much cheaper than most retail outlets these days.

      I would go to amazon.co.uk, i buy most of my tv shows from there, way cheaper.
      Let's do a comparison: x-files:
      - amazon - $102.25 AUD (£55.47) - dvd boxset season 1-9 + ($22 for the movies)
      - jb hifi - $224.82 ($24.98 per season) or $258.99 for boxset + movies

      Not really sure why there is a massive price difference.

      Last edited 11/03/14 10:29 pm

        Amazon UK does free delivery to AU !?
        My mind has been blown.
        Can someone else please confirm this? I have only been purchasing select Blu rays from OZgameshop recently I was unaware that Amazon UK could ship to Australia for free.

        Last edited 11/03/14 6:06 pm

          ok - my mistake - not really free delivery, but the fees aren't really that high, $4-5 for postage.

          Last edited 11/03/14 10:29 pm

            http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200706240

            Last edited 12/03/14 6:30 pm

    I wonder what Turnbulls response will be. Nothing will change (for the better) in this matter with the current fed gov anyway. May as well save this convo for a few years when we actually have a hope of the right laws being made.

    Turnbul is not intelligent enough to understand this concept. No on in the Liberal part is.

      I'd like to believe that but they are much smarter than you think. Abbott stuck Turnbull with the Communications job because he is his major competitor for leadership within the party. Tanking the NBN makes Turnbull look bad and keeps him away from any leadership struggle. Turnbull, stuck between a rock and a hard place, can only fail or break even depending on how he handles the situation.

      It was so much easier when I thought all politicians were stupid.

        Good point.
        Well, politically they're clever at least.

    It's not purely an issue of availability and pricing, as evidenced by the Humble Bundles being pirated. There are some people who will always find a reason to refuse to pay for content.

    I was speaking to someone the other day who was firmly of the opinion that once he had paid for his Internet connection everything he obtained via it should be free, and that the studios should have been receiving a piece of his ISP's fee for the shows and movies that he downloaded. Nothing is ever going to convince him that his piracy is in any way negative.

      Yeah, but that's no excuse to not fix a MAJOR CAUSE of piracy.

      There will always be crime, woe is us, all is futile, guess we shouldn't take any reasonable steps to remove incentives for crime, like leaving all your valuables on display in your window or vehicle.

      It's stupid and irresponsible to make life harder for yourself and only rely on policing the incidents. Prevention is better than punishment. And right now, the media industries are being stupid and irresponsible with how they funnel potential consumers into far more accessible, flexible, and high-quality piracy.

        It wasn't meant to be "woe is us, all is futile". Just a (perhaps poorly-worded) observation that the government will always be under pressure to further legislate and try to reduce piracy because some people just like to pirate.

        Sadly that's not going to change, even if the media industries do manage to pull their craniums past their anal sphincters.

        The availability of content is definitely a problem that needs to be addressed, but my experience has been that it's often the primary excuse, rather than the primary reason for piracy.

          I don't know. I'm pretty sure that's just projection. Calling them 'excuses' feels a lot more like painting pirates as the unsympathetic bad guy who doesn't have any actual fair reasons and is just going to pirate no matter what, as if that were somehow the majority. But we've seen that just doesn't bear out. Take the massive popularity of Steam and the mappable plummeting of piracy. And more anecdotally, I may or may not have been a HUGE PC game pirate... and now Steam level 49, with a badge for 850 games or whatever.

          Writing off the 'reasons, not excuses' angle is a lame cop-out to avoid tackling the real issue which is difficult, time-consuming, experimental (and thus scary) and may possibly (unlikely if you look at Steam as the poster child for doing it right) result in lower revenues.

          To me, claiming that 'most pirates will never change' is the REAL excuse for not making the hard changes in the industry.

            You make good points. As you say, Valve's success in the Russian marketplace is a great example of decent service having a hugely positive impact on piracy.

            There is a large and problematic culture of piracy, though. Games are pirated before they're ever even released, mobile games are heavily pirated despite only costing $1, and, like I said in my first post, even the Humble Bundles get pirated. These aren't issues of availability.

            There's work to be done on both sides. Consumers and producers both need to take responsibility for and consider the fairness of their behaviour.

              Which would be fair... except that that will never happen. So it really is one-sided. Unfair, but the state of reality that has to be adapted to. It becomes about harm minimization, much like anything else.
              You can try and change the behavior of millions upon millions of people with laws, but they're more likely to defy them. It doesn't work in the digital space, which is why we're having the conversation we're having now. The carrot works better, and at some point you have to resign yourself to never being able to fight it completely.

              That doesn't stop them from trying, though. The only reasons Diablo 3 was an online-only affair was as an anti-piracy measure, and to try and tap into the social pressures (word-of-mouth tail extension, increased retention allowing follow-up peer-pressure sales) that are so successful in facebook/mobile gaming/MMOs. (Some people will claim it was the RMAH, but I'm pretty confident that was just an incidental. The message came down from on high that it was going to be an always-online with high social-feature focus, and they just folded in the RMAH by way of taking advantage of the opportunity. I would not be surprised if the money it brought in barely paid for the cost of implementing and maintaining it.)

              And while Maxis strongly denied outright being instructed by EA to make it Online Only, I wouldn't be surprised if same powerful encouragement was provided for Sim City to be Online Only. 'It sure would be nice if you guys made a Sim City game with a heavy social multiplayer focus - of course it would need to be online only. It also sure would be nice if you guys had jobs this time next year.'

              Bonus rewards in-game by way of DLC or other cosmetics provided through uPlay, but only with online-activated accounts? Cross-platform achievements in GFWL? They're just other techniques that have been hunted around for in a way to avoid the measurably, provably pointless traditional route of expensive, buggy DRM which pirates ignore. They're a little ham-fisted, but we're not seeing anything even close to as effective in the film/tv industry.

                Hahah... I did get rather distracted from the film/tv focus of the article, didn't I? You can tell what industry I work in.

                Anyway. You're right, but it still makes me sad.

    I want to buy transformers prime seasons 2, 3 and the telemovie on bluray. They don't even have a release date here. They've been available on Amazon for over 6 months for less than half of what they will cost here if they ever get released. Only the telemovie is not region free. Tell me again the incentive for supporting Australian business when this is the norm, not the exception.

    Purchase DVD legally: Sit through unskippable studio trailers and a five minute lecture on why pirates are bad. ...Delivered to someone who bought the movie.
    Pirate DVD: Play the fucking movie.

    Free, almost-immediate access, flexible formats for pirates.
    Costly, delayed access, restricted formats when purchasing legally.

    Ass-about-backwards unintuitive bullshit is the norm for this industry.

      100% agreed. Having unskippable sections on discs is downright disgusting. They should either be removed from the media's standards documents or flat-out ignored by the playback devices.

        Flexibility in codecs/formats is another pretty huge issue that doesn't get enough media traction.

        There are numerous ways of piping your data through the home to various devices these days, and the industry keeps trying to lock it down so they can get you for every device you move it to - god forbid you try to put it on a media PC to stream to TV, laptop, other room's TV, or even tablet. You get a single file as a pirate, you can do all of that on your own. But with the industry claiming, "but we should be able to charge you five times for that!" when there's not actually any extra work done at the supplier's end to justify it is just outright hostile to consumers.

        The industry is used to being able to double-dip on sales of titles by simply changing how it's packaged - new boxed sets every time there's a sequel. A new 'definitive collection' every time there's a new season. They don't want to let go of that.

        Also, delays for the sake of delays. Or actively disadvantaging the consumer to better exploit them for profits, a la Lego movie being delayed til Australian school holidays. There'll be DVD rips available to pirate before then. A cynic would suggest they're even HAPPY with that, so they'll have a massive example to point to, of how out-of-hand piracy is getting, as a tipping point to increased enforcement.

        Unskippable sections on discs is disgusting on PURCHASED media. I would be quite willing to watch movie trailers if I HIRED media much as you see trailers before a movie at the cinema. When you BUY a disc, take it home, having trailers as an extra on the menu would be a much better idea. I've given you money for specific content, not to be told what else I can buy. This is the reason I've cancelled my Xbox Live subscription. The console has become 90% advertising.

        I can't recall the title, but I saw a movie recently which had a bunch of Australian actors saying "thank you". At the end of which came "thank you for buying this movie". More than happy to watch that again, as opposed to "you wouldn't steal a car..."

          The "You wouldn't steal a car" campaign felt like being accused of being a thief every time I purchased a Movie. The new "thank you" campaign is far better, but can still be monotonous especially if it's on say every disc of a 8 disc set. It really should be skippable or unique to every movie/series. How hard would it be to get the Actors to say a quick thanks for every movie, preferably in character.

            Hell, they put up with junkets and idiotic poster poses... You'd think a relaxed smile and a genuine thanks would be a refreshing change.

    Can I add a 3rd factor in? Timeliness?
    If shows/games/movies were available around the globe at the same time, it would prevent a heap of piracy (if it was a reasonable price & available to actually purchase).

    Another problem is that our TV networks for some reason don't want to broadcast in HD. There have been several times where I miss an episode so I download it and I just think why don't I just download them as the quality is so much better.

    Also Foxtel and there extra charge for HD channels can go and %^&* right off!

      And probably the most pathetic aspect about foxtel and their hd channels; 7mate and One, BOTH FREE TO AIR hd channels, require a paid subscription to the hd selection. Get f***ed.

      Haha foxtel hahaha they just make me laugh now. I thought I paid for TV so I didn't have to watch crappy commercials. Oh and hey, if you want current day standard HD resolutions it's only going to cost $120 a month or more.

      The only reason I would ever pay for foxtel is for sport and I can't even bring myself to do that. This would be a huge reason to pirate TV shows. I'm sure it pushes many people to do it.

    You can blame them plenty.
    1. There are rational ways to fix the problem
    2. There is a way to not fix it, and do the bidding of your corporate masters
    They are choosing 2, btw

    I was talking to a friend in the united states about this just today when he suggested I "just get netflix already"

    I love people who will whine and complain because they have to pay a couple of dollars for apps\movies\episodes, yet dont mind paying $2 for a coke or mars bar on a whim.

    Pull your head in you muppets!

    Gee, so it is either adapt a policy that for over a decade has proved ineffectual, unpopular and even counter-productive across the world, or the one that has made millions of dollars for those smart enough to seize the opportunity. What a doozy. Good thing we have Google to tell us these things since apparently common sense will not.

    This is rich coming from Google, whose Play Store only offers the full service (apps, hardware, movies, TV shows, books, magazines and music) in only a handful of countries.

    Yes, I know there are other factors at play with why it hasn't happened yet, it's not just Google's fault, but the delays are ridiculous. I currently live in Thailand and we only got Books about 6 months ago and paid apps from local developers only became allowed this year.

    It's an appalling effort given that we are considered part of the same region as the country with the highest number of smartphone users per capita, Singapore (who are #1 by a long way! *), who also get treated the same.

    * http://www.wired.com/beyond_the_beyond/2011/12/42-major-countries-ranked-by-smartphone-penetration-rates/

    Last edited 12/03/14 5:28 am

      There is also regional pricing in effect with some apps, I regularly get updates on app discounts via AppSales and some discounts offered by certain developers (looking at you Square Enix) don't get applied over here.

      Last edited 12/03/14 5:35 am

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