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Jason Clare, Australia’s Shadow Communications Minister, has suggested that content providers should provide new ways for people to access legally the content they want to watch, to help in the fight against online piracy.
Clare made his comments during a Closing Address at the Tech Leaders forum in Queensland and in the wake of Attorney-General George Brandis’s announcement that the federal government was considering a crackdown on online copyright infringement.
A key recommendation of the Law Reform Commission was the introduction of a flexible fair use exemption, which it suggested “would make Australia a more attractive market for technology investment and innovation”.
Clare said he wasn’t convinced that a graduated response system to copyright infringement as mooted by the Commission would work. “There’s little evidence it has worked when applied overseas. Who should carry the burden of implementing this, and the costs? And why should ISPs carry the burden?” According to Clare, a regime that punishes infringers without addressing the underlying cause for copyright infringement would not be effective. “The better way to do this would be to get people to work collaboratively together. I’ve always found that carrots work better than sticks.”
He suggested that video-on-demand services such as Foxtel’s Presto would help in that respect. “You’ve got to make it easy for people to access the programmes that they want to, and Presto could be a good way to do that. I think it is up to content providers to provide new ways for people to get access legally to the content they want to watch,” he declared.
Clare admitted to discussing the availability of Game of Thrones with Foxtel executives, with the pay-TV platform being the only outlet for the drama series. “I said ‘you guys have got a problem here, because people are going to get it elsewhere. People like me who love that TV show, they want to get access to it. As soon as it comes out we want to watch it’,” he revealed.
According to Clare, Foxtel realise this is an opportunity to get more customers, and that if they don’t change their business model to meet the needs of people who love programmes such as Game of Thrones, “then they’re going to lose customers, and people are going to get it another way”.