Copyright documentary from Australian radio

Oscar sez, "I just finished a 48-minute radio documentary for the Australian public broadcaster, the ABC, about remix culture, piracy and copyright. It's got brain-melting copyright education programs aimed at kids, commentary from Lessig, and tomfoolery from the Australian film industry about losses from internet piracy. There's also a history of the Statute of Anne, and the Australian music industry agreeing that amateur remixing at home should be allowed. It includes a cut-up of Johann Strauss' Blue Danube which will hurt your ears and make you laugh, and tracks from Girl Talk, Steinski, Strictly Kev and many others."

I've just gotten as far as the woman from the Australian film industry explaining that even though sales of DVD and box-office tickets are up, copyright infringement is still a deadly threat to the movie industry, demanding that the Internet be totally remade to prevent it, just in case. Nice stuff.

Adrianne Pecotic: The fact that there is a level of illegitimate consumption of film and television is something that detracts from the revenue that could go back into the industry and could go back into supporting local video stores, local cinemas and online distribution. Theft is not justified because someone is being successful, and that's a really important point in this debate.

Oscar McLaren: But it does seem strange that I mean, we're told in quite apocalyptic terms often that the video industry and the film industry is really starting to hurt. I don't imagine many people would actually be aware that the revenues are in fact going up quite steadily and have been for the past decade or so.

Adrianne Pecotic: I think the important thing about the losses that are being suffered by the film industry through piracy, is that individual investors in individual films rely on that investment in that particular film, for that film maker, or that investor as their entire revenue. If you're looking at the analysis across the board of the whole industry and whether it is going up or whether more people are consuming films or less people are consuming films, you're not asking the question of whether a particular film has had the opportunity to recoup its proper revenue.

Oscar McLaren: For the record, box office sales were also at all-time high levels last year, reaching nearly $1-billion.

Internet piracy

MP3 link

(Thanks, Oscar!)



  1. In 2000 the awesome Australian combo The Avalanches released their album “Since I Left You”, which was alleged to include 900 or so samples, and was delayed by clearances — the band said that there was an Ur-album even chocker-full of unclearable samples; I’m not sure whether that one been released in bootleg form (there are a few candidates) but it seems a great shame that anything they can release commercially will be in some way a compromise.

    I hope that APRA’s Brett “It’s not an issue of control or permission, it’s an issue of fair payment for use” Cottle is right, and that a fair system of compulsory licensing is introduced, maybe based on a proportion of the revenues generated by the derivative/creative activity so The Avalanches and others could still afford to release and distribute this stuff.

    I also like the idea of the broadband/mobile phone companies kicking in a proportion of their network access fees to make sure popular artists get paid. The EFF suggested this a while ago and I can’t see much wrong with it, apart from some administrative difficulties.

    I’ll see you tonight in Cambridge, Cory!

  2. Perhaps “Oscar” could populate his rather emaciated blog with more telling topics about the ABC – how it as become a whore for Murdoch’s “Australian” and every other right wing “think-tank” (Tax Exempt Lobbyist) you could imagine.

    The Lowy Institute, Centre for Independent Studies, Institute of Public Affairs, Australian Strategic Policy Institute ….etc.

    Blog about this, Oscar.

  3. A few years ago the UK music industry was complaining that sales were down due to piracy (rather than them pumping out the same old crap we’ve heard hundreds of times before), yet if you looked into the figures you saw that they were actually making more money than the previous year because they’d raised their prices.

  4. I just think that this radio podcast misses its mark.

    Partly the problem is that it tries to tackle too much – mash-ups, intermediary liability, copyright piracy, peer to peer networks, and copyright history – in too little time. As a result, its a bit of a mish-mash.

    Partly the problem is that it asks the usual questions of the usual suspects (Lessig, and Litman on side, and copyright industry figures on the other). As a consequence, it is a bit cliched and unoriginal.

    I think that journalists need to lift their game on copyright law, and try to tackle the topic, with some greater focus, and originality.

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