If the world’s biggest film studios want government help to stop Australians stealing movies online, they’d better look at their pricing.
Australians can pay up to 50 per cent more to legally download movies than elsewhere in the world, a disparity Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull warns is not helping the case against internet piracy.
“If their concerns are to be taken seriously, and they are… they’ve got to play their part,” he told ABC radio on Thursday following the release of a discussion paper to curb the problem in Australia.
That means making content affordable and universally available.
The cost of making content available for Australian audiences is the same as abroad and price differences were a “powerful argument” against forking out the cash, Mr Turnbull said.
But he said illegal downloading was theft and it should be stopped.
Australia has an unfavourable reputation for internet piracy and one of the highest rates of illegal downloading in the world.
The government’s discussion paper proposes a number of strategies to reduce internet piracy, including blocking overseas sites known to offer illegal access to movies and albums.
Mr Turnbull said he was also looking at the New Zealand system, where the internet service provider sends three warnings to the consumer for illegal behaviour.
Then it’s up to the copyright owners to pursue court cases as they wish.
But copyright owners will be expected to explain their pricing models before the government goes in to bat on their behalf.
“They’re the ones that have got to justify why they are charging more to Australians,” he said.