Louis CK Explains Why All Australians Pirate Things

Louis CK Explains Why All Australians Pirate Things

When it comes to piracy Australians get such a bad rap, don’t we? It’s crazy. I mean people in this country are known internationally for being pirates! Politicians claim we pirate things because there are no safeguards against piracy. Louis CK knows better. Louis CK knows that we pirate his show Louie even! But here’s the crazy thing: he totally understands. He gets it. And it’s beautiful.

Speaking on the Opie & Anthony show, Louis CK explains how he went to Australia and everyone was telling him how much they loved his show, which was crazy since Louie doesn’t air in Australia. Eventually he put two and two together and the above rant is the result.

I love you Louis CK. You are impossible to not love.

But there is, of course, a grander point here. People in Australia, like all people, want to buy things. They want to support things. When we are denied the opportunity to support things in a fair way, we revolt. Simple as that. Media needs to change, not the consumers.


  • I can’t watch the video at work, but does he point out it’s because we’re a bunch of convicts?

    • I can’t watch it either.

      I love how they always conveniently forget that Britain sent far more convicts to what is now America than they did here.

      • No, it’s got nothing to do with convicts.

        He basically says everyone here steals content because we aren’t given proper access to it.
        I think the last line is something like “People say TAKE MY CREDIT CARD, but if you’re going to make it difficult for me, then fuck you!”

        I actually think that sums it up pretty well. I steal GoT every week because if I want to watch it how and when I want I have to pay for Foxtel (which I do), and $20 a month for an obtuse movie package (which is arguably fair enough) and then an EXTRA $20 or so a month to watch it in fucking HD?

        Thats fucking ridiculous.

        • I haven’t seen it yet, but I wouldn’t expect him to go for a cheap joke like that anyway. He’s actually a good comedian.

          So often I get “hurr hurr you are from criminal land” from people. It seems to be the go to joke for Americans talking about Aus. Thing is, America was a much bigger group of penal colonies than us. It’s like telling every American that Americans are fat. It’s a dumb, cheap joke that’s pretty much pot and kettle anyhow.

          That’s pretty much spot on. I used to pirate all kinds of stuff because it was too damn hard to get legally. Steam, Crunchyroll, GOG, Hulu (when I lived in a country that had it) and bands selling music directly from their websites have made me a happy customer who wants to pay.

          Basically, fuck Foxtel. I think that’s the lesson we all learn here.

          • Sir, we agree fully.

            I’d love to know how many other countries are expected to pay an additional fee on top of their cable bill in order to get it in HD.

            The lack of competition and the siphoning of content in this country means we get bent over for even the most rudimental of features. Could you imagine Americans being unable to watch the Superbowl live in HD AT ALL? It would be considered completely unacceptable, yet millions of Australians are forced to watch the Boxing Day Test in SD so channel 9 can run repeats of I Love Lucy on their HD channel.

            The Government (and I hate arguing politics on games websites) really needs to focus on anti-consumer behaviour before it focuses on people pirating content. The internet means that we know what kind of services other western nations take for granted and as long as the Government continues to allow a handful of companies to take advantage of the closed market then they should expect that Aussies will continue to steal shit (and not feel bad about it).

          • Part of the problem there is that the anti-siphoning laws that prevent Foxtel from getting exclusive rights to that content also prevent Nine from broadcasting the game on a secondary channel. If they wanted to only show it on their secondary HD channel, then they would have to compete directly with Foxtel for the rights.

            They could presumably simulcast it on both channels at once, but they want something for the rest of their audience who doesn’t like cricket to watch.

          • Here in $NZ its about $50-$75 for basic Sky, then another $10-$15 a month for SoHo channel and I think another $15 for HD Ticket.

        • You steal nothing. You infringe the statutory copyright in GOT as licenced to Foxtel in Australia.

    • No. He points out that publishers and developers don’t make things available to us otherwise we’d whip out our credit cards and pay for it when given the option. We aren’t given that option most of the time so piracy has just become a cultural norm. He personally has endeavoured to make things available to Australia at the same time as the US against the wishes of his publishers and shockingly, people purchased it.

  • When we are denied the opportunity to support things in a fair way, we revolt.

    I agree in the context of films, but find it hard to use that reasoning when it comes to people pirating games that are available at the same time (sometimes even earlier) than the rest of the world. Then I think price and general dickness comes into play.

    • By most reports, Steam (like iTunes) drastically reduced piracy. People use Russia as an example here. It was disregarded as a wasteland of piracy because they sold things at a price the Russians simply could not afford. Steam came along, offered a price the people would pay and suddenly Russia is considered a viable market.

    • Agree but also include music in that. Music is chepa and easily available. It’s only shows and movies that totally suck the big one

    • There are people who pirate regardless of price (but mostly complain about price as a justification), people who pirate due to content not being reasonably available at a sensible price, and people who will not pirate under any circumstances.

      I suspect that the second category is largest.

      GoT is heavily pirated because it’s stupidly expensive. The only legal option here is Foxtel, with the cheapest bundle being $72/month.

      Foxtel has a minimum 12 month subscription. If all you wanted was GoT, this would cost $72×12 = $862, costing $86.20 per episode. That’s significantly more than buying the entire box set for a season, once the season is released.

    • “When we are denied the opportunity to support things in a fair way, we revolt.”
      “I agree in the context of films, but find it hard to use that reasoning when it comes to people pirating games that are available at the same time (sometimes even earlier) than the rest of the world.”

      I think price is the big factor there. Price is absolutely a part of ‘fairness’. I just got done explaining Australia Tax to a coworker who was astonished and outraged because they had no idea it was happening or that it was as bad as it is.

    • I’ve pirated one video game and that’s Ride to Hell because I wanted to see how bad it was. I actually ended up buying it on PS3 after that so…

      • Hehe. That’s why I appreciate demos. Give it a whack, see if you might enjoy it and then grab the full version. I liked that about Xbox Live Arcade games.

  • I’ve bought both the comedy specials Louis has offered directly from his website over the years the pricing was fair and the content was well produced and I can port the file to any device I own.

  • Haha, hard not to love indeed. I love this especially because the special that he mentioned putting out on his site, bought it happily on day one. Case in point.

    • Yeah man! I bought that as well and will happily buy more for that price and convenience (I bought the Todd Barry one off his site too).

      • I would encourage everyone to check out comedy central direct. Heaps of stand up sets, $5 each, unlimited download and streams, hd for no extra, worldwide simultaneous releases. The new Hannibal Burress special was even up BEFORE it aired in US.

        I pirated a lot of comedy, but haven’t pirated a single thing available on the site. It’s just too good of a deal, and eliminates every reason to pirate (too expensive, no legal options, large delays, no regional pricing)

    • Same here, also the same thing with the one Jim Gaffigan put out that we were actually allowed to buy

  • People in Australia, like all people, want to buy things. They want to support things. When we are denied the opportunity to support things in a fair way, we revolt. Simple as that. Media needs to change, not the consumers

    Yep, couldn’t agree more. The worst part is that last year there was a parliamentary inquiry into WHY we get charged more for things like digital downloads of the same files from the same servers, and everybody (at least those who bothered to show up at all) basically sat there, looked our elected representatives in the eye and said “fuck you, it’s because we can”. And now here we have the government turning around and launching this supposed crackdown on piracy. How about addressing the obvious anti-consumer practices that were laid so bare during those hearings last year before bringing the hammer down on people? If we got the same deal as the rest of the world and were still pirating on that scale, then fair enough – go ahead and whack the pirates. But as it stands, big business basically told the government to go fuck themselves, and the government said “yes, sir”.

    • How was Labor any different? The enquiry was pretty much investigating a confirmed fact and had basically no means to bring the companies to task.

      The problem is both sides have no freaking idea what to do and are both throwing up smoke screens to make it look as though both are doing the right thing when Average Joe off the street has more knowledge than all ministers (both sides) combined.

      • WHAT! the govt. doesnt understand the internets?! Oh noes i hope this doesnt affect other technologies like the NBN… oh wait

        • How’s that any different from Labor’s Steven Conroy? Sure the NBN was offered, but then he tried to apply Chinese style censorship on it.

          So both sides when it comes computer networking, have no freaking idea.

          • Yeah, i said Govt. not labour/liberal. I voted the sex party(figured id get free porn or centrelink funded BJ’s)

            *PS. Both posts are sarcasm, not looking for an arguement…. and i didnt really vote for sex party, i ticked all the boxes and figured whichever side paid the most money to the people counting would decide for me. <- again sarcasm

      • I didn’t say Labor was any different. I didn’t mention any particular political party.

        But it’s complete and utter rubbish to say the government has no means to bring the companies to task. It’s obvious that it’s the whining from these companies that is bringing about this looming crackdown on piracy. So the government has leverage right there – they could turn it back on these companies and say sort your shit out first so our constituents aren’t getting ripped off, and THEN we’ll talk about a piracy crackdown.

        • You forget who is in power currently. Pandering to big business is what the LNP does best. Their recent swing towards the right has made that even more obvious. They care nothing for Australia, only how much their friends in high places can get out of it on their way to political oblivion.

      • Yeah. I’m no fan of partisanship when it comes to this kind of crap, especially since both major parties have been sucking American corporate dick on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

        Brandis deserves to cop flames for his current tack in how to ‘address piracy’ (by blaming the victims who are fighting back against bullies), but when he’s out and someone else is in who also decides it’s better to aggressively pursue the interests of foreign business over the interests of the Australian people? They’ll get my ire as well. It’s frankly nothing less than a naked betrayal, when he shows just where his loyalties lie. Prevention’s better than the cure, so why isn’t the Australia Tax under more scrutiny? Both official and media.

        All sides know what they have to do, they just don’t want to because of who’s holding the election-campaign purse-strings. Which is ass-about-backwards. Politicians are meant to represent voters, not the interests who pay for enough advertisements to persuade voters.

  • Kinda right… Earlier seasons of Louie aired on ABC2, but yeah… This show is so good, my hand is forced to plunder the depths of the internet to watch it as soon as I can, otherwise i’m completely left out of online discussions and left wide open for spoilers.

    I also pay for Netflix and happily paid for his specials directly from his website. So suck on that Brandis, you fat fuck.

  • This is why Louis CK is great. He gets straight to the meat of the problem. I don’t think the rule applies to games (except for the insane markup we still pay for all digital content), but media companies are losing more money because of their archaic region practices than to piracy. Australia has a history of being early adopters of technology and media, so it always surprises me when they put us at the back of the line for new content. Australian Media and tech companies need to spend less time scheduling the drip feed of content to fall into optimal earning brackets and more time listening to what the Australian public is asking for now.
    If anything our small*, wealthy*, and educated* population is a perfect testbed for new technology and media. (*compared to the US for example we have a small population with a very large middle class of pretty educated people, but our buying habits are very much in line with theirs.)

  • I think naturally we engage in transactions of mutual benefit when the opportunity presents itself: if the transaction doesn’t exist, then the dilemma is, does it constitute stealing? Does it constitute a loss of revenue? Is someone LOSING out? From a branding perspective someone like Louis K has benefited greatly from piracy’s ability to expand his image even in an environment where he can’t sell his product. In many ways it’s like the “free-2-play” model: get his stuff for free, pay “extra” for the ultimate experience, which in his case might be a live show when he comes to town.

    If you present the person with an opportunity to exchange for something they value, then, pending the value fits their expectations, they will engage with the transaction.

    I see piracy as still a mutual exchange, and in a way very much a product of the free market. Brand worth these days is just as important as ever. Would I be willing to pay for the stuff I pirate had it been more readily available/affordable? Maybe. Primarily for me though, convenience is the major factor. It’s more convenient for me to pay for a Spotify subscription then to pirate every song I want to listen to. I guess this is the dilemma retail faces atm: it’s not so much about competing financially, it’s about providing the consumer with a unique experience that gets them through the door. I certainly believe people shop online because of the ease, not necessarily the price.

  • It’s a cage. It’s keeping money out, it’s not keeping money in.

    Best analogy so far on the matter.

  • I am an avid fan of Opie and Anthony, and i listen to their 4 hour show every monday – friday. I’m glad you posted this clip and are making more people aware of the show. 🙂

  • There’s ad supported free streaming music services…

    Why hasn’t someone made an ad supported TV show/Movie services. I realise there stuff available through your desktop, but why can’t this be pushed to television devices.

    Free (with ad’s) that play the latest season (including latest released episode from that day), and a subscription based model (think spotify/netflix pricing $10-15 a month)… that drops ad’s AND lets you watch all previous seasons of a show…

    • Unfortunately it’s the super restrictive license deals with the likes of Foxtel that stop anything like that.

  • However this isn’t an excuse for those that feel entitled to everything for free or virtually nothing.

    • No one said it was. This simply addresses the issue of availability and indicates that you can turn thieves into customers by giving them an opportunity to buy.

      • Yeah I am just saying no matter what you do though there will always be at least some people that pirate.

        • Yeah, and no matter what you do there will always be thieves. So I guess we should all give up entirely on any thoughts we had about locking doors, paying police, and make sure we declare loudly whenever we’re leaving the neihbourhood on holidays, right? Because fuck precautions and reasonable risk-reduction if we can’t have a 100% safety guarantee, right?

          “Some people will always steal, so I guess we shouldn’t address why everyone ELSE steals.” That line of thinking does NOT help the problem. At all. It just gives the anti-consumer bullies an excuse to keep doing what they’re doing.

          • Is this what I said ? No not at all. Way to take what I said and try to make an argument of it.

          • At best, that observation is utterly irrelevant to the discussion and contributes nothing useful to examining how and why piracy should be tackled by changes in corporate behaviour.

            But most commonly, and the obvious implication by even bringing it up, is as a bullshit excuse trotted out by apologists to the poor widdle ‘victim’ companies who are bringing piracy down on their own heads, by close-minded twits who refuse to accept that pirates act out of any other motivation than being tightasses.

          • Wow look at you go. I never said all pirates are tight assess, and I am sorry I didn’t contribute to this legitimate discussion of piracy on Kotaku of all places in the exact way you wanted my lord.
            And no that isn’t the obvious implication because that was not what I was implying, my original comment was made because of recently the WWE gave the option of instead of paying $40-60 for a payperview to pay $10 for a service that included them and a lot of other content yet a large majority still pirate even though they were given a better option.
            My original comment wasn’t in defense of geo-pricing-restricting-whatever, it was just a offhand comment. Sorry I offended you so badly.

  • It’s Disappointing when a Comedian gets it but the Politicians and peoples whose job it is don’t.

    Want to stop Piracy of Game of Thrones, release a Box Set preorder. I purchase it from say JB Hifi, it than allows me to stream each episode after it airs on TV, than when it’s done I get the box set.

    Full Price sale, happy customer, happy distributor, And nobody cares about Foxtels attitude. I had a long conversation with friends in the US, they couldn’t believe myself and another friend where too cheap to pay for cable. Until they actually looked up what we get with Foxtel and said there is no way they’d pay for that service. They where also horrified to find that Foxtel was the only option.

    They are talking $20 to $30 for a bundle that blows Foxtel out of the water.

  • Transcript for people at work who can’t see the video, because there’s no real video it’s just an audio recording:

    “Like when I was in, ah, Australia, everybody told me that they watch my show. And uh… I figured that they must be getting old versions of it ’cause it doesn’t air there – but they were watchin’ the show like, the week before because the whole country… pirates, there.”
    *interviewer laughs*
    “Here, weirdos pirate… there’s not that many pirate here,”
    “…but in Australia, Moms and Dads pirate video. Because we’re not… letting them buy it. Because we’re keeping it from them.”
    “Oh yeah, really? Yeah?”
    “We have shows that have been on the air here for like, three years? And we won’t even give them– if they’re given the option? Like… everybody in the world is like, “Take my fucking credit card and just let me have the thing and I’ll pay, but if you’re gonna be a pain in the ass… FUCK YOU, I can steal ALL of it! So the whole country of Australia rips TV. So when I learned this, so when I put my beacon special, one of the big important things to me was that it was globally available, right away… and they’re happy to buy it. Right? So I told FX they should sell my show on my website. And they said that we can’t do that because we can’t let other countries see it before…”
    “Oh boy…”
    “And I’m, but the– what they’re doin’, all those companies and this… piece of shit fuckin’ company,”
    *interviewer laughter*
    “–that we’re talkin’ on right now? Is they’re keepin’ money out, it’s a cage it’s keepin’ money out, it’s not keepin’ it in, right? They think they’re keepin’ money in, but they’re keepin’ it out.”

  • What about stuff that will NEVER COME HERE!? Games that get released in USA, but never get PAL region and even with Playstation Network IT’S STILL USA ONLY!!! (Even worst is when it’s USA only but will never come to Playstation Network because of how much of a niche it is) This is one of the reasons it happens so often. Chrono Cross is a perfect example.

    • Well PSN isn’t so bad because you can just create a US PSN account and buy them that way. If you don’t have a US credit card, you can buy codes for US store credit online. That’s how I got The Walking Dead back when it wasn’t available on the Australian store due to lack of an R rating.

      In the case of physical-only stuff… yeah, that’s why I used to mod my consoles back in the day when they were region locked. Not to pirate stuff, but just so I could legitimately import games that didn’t get a PAL release (e.g. the original Katamari Damacy on PS2).

  • I just want paid torrents of movies and music. For games this is Steam. Humble bundles actually offer torrent downloads. This is exactly what I want for TV shows and movies.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!