Oz creatives claim site-blocking success

The Australian creative industries’ fight against piracy has claimed a significant victory, with new, previously unreleased research showing that court-ordered site blocks, year-on-year, led to a 25 per cent reduction in piracy overall and a 53 per cent reduction in use of the online pirate sites subject to a blocking order.

Incopro’s Australian Site-Blocking Efficacy Report, compiled after the Australian Federal Court ordered the blocking of 59 pirate sites in August 2017, echoes the findings of a UK study by Carnegie-Mellon University which showed that overall piracy was only significantly reduced when a substantial number of sites were blocked simultaneously.

Graham Burke AO, Chairman of Creative Content Australia, says that while he welcomes the latest figures, to  combat the scourge of piracy in Australia effectively requires Google and other search engines to do the right thing. “The reduction in piracy is exciting news but that 53 per cent could be 90 per cent. The government has shut the front door, but Google is leading people to the back door, showing no respect for Australian law or courts let alone any regard for the Australian economy and cultural way of life. Meanwhile the criminals running pirate sites are earning giant commissions scamming Australian citizens.”

Creative Content Australia’s (CCA) new consumer campaign – ‘Say No to Piracy’ – launches in cinemas and on subscription and FTA television across Australia February 22nd. It celebrates Australian creativity and innovation in the screen industries and shows the vast array of behind-the-scenes professionals it takes to make screen content.

The new campaign builds on research that shows 74 per cent of Australians believe piracy is stealing or theft. It highlights some of the best Australian films and TV shows of recent years, including excerpts from Red Dog, Hacksaw Ridge, Top of The Lake, Paper Planes and Lion.

CCA Executive Director Lori Flekser says the new campaign has a different message to CCA’s 2017 ‘Price of Piracy’, featuring Bryan Brown. “‘Price of Piracy’ was a great success in alerting consumers that pirate sites are criminal neighbourhoods posing real risks. Our new campaign, ‘Say No to Piracy’, celebrates Australian film and television, and is a powerful reminder that we have some of the best screen professionals in the world. Online piracy jeopardises not only local jobs and livelihoods, but also the future of great Australian stories that promote our culture and way of life.”

“This campaign celebrates the joy of Australian films,” declared Burke. “Films that follow on from the long tradition of Gallipoli, Crocodile Dundee, Babe and Muriel’s Wedding. There will be no future for Australian films if piracy is not contained.”

According to Flekser, the Incopro research clearly shows the assertions made by vocal opponents of site-blocking – who claimed it was ineffectual – were unfounded and incorrect. “The reduction in piracy that this research confirms offers proof to all the naysayers who decried site-blocking that not only is it working well, but it hasn’t broken the Internet.”

Say No to Piracy was written and directed by talented director and emerging filmmaker, Curtis Hill, Goodoil Films, who says: “It was film school that opened my eyes to how many skilled people it takes to make screen content. I want to have a career making feature films and TV drama, but piracy is having a major impact on my ability to do that. It reduces investment in the creative industry which leads to fewer projects. That’s less opportunities for people like me and less jobs for thousands of crew and cast.”

The 30-second ‘Say No to Piracy’ campaign will screen in selected cinemas, on free-to-air networks, on FOXTEL and online.

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