Movie piracy refers to the illegal distribution of films, without the permission or license of the content creators. Online piracy is one of the most challenging issues facing the creative industries today. If it continues at current rates, creative business will become unsustainable. “Free” is not a viable business model.
Copyright can be complex but it comes down to a very simple concept - the freedom to choose. Those who own the copyright in a film or a TV show have the right to choose when, how, and if they wish to distribute their creative work - whether it’s for hire, sale or free. Pirates take that choice away from filmmakers.
Film and TV pirates use many excuses for their behaviour, but the main reason is that it is free.1
Pirates may not steal anything physical when they stream or download content from pirate sites, but in doing so, they reduce the value of the work to zero by choosing to pay nothing for it.
The majority of Australians - 74% - agree that piracy is theft.
Infringing content streaming has become a major way of spreading malware on the Internet.
One in three pirate sites contain malware that steals personal information like addresses, bank details and passwords.2 A high percentage of pirate-site ads trick victims into downloading spyware and malware that can facilitate identity theft.3
At an average cost of $8 million, every Australian feature film is a start-up business. The founders of that business have put in years of work to develop a film and raise the money required to get it made. Every dollar lost to piracy contributes to making it harder for the founders to raise enough money for the next film.
Whether a film or TV show is made in Hollywood or Hobart, piracy undermines investor confidence to finance movies in the first place. Investors are less likely to participate in films when piracy impacts their returns. Fewer films means fewer jobs for Australian creatives and less choice for consumers. Everyone loses‚ from actors through to audiences.
It’s not only filmmakers who are affected. The cinema industry includes thousands of workers in various roles. Village Cinemas, for example, is an Australian company, employing thousands of people. Many industry professionals begin their careers selling tickets or popcorn in regional and city cinemas. Piracy threatens the livelihood of these Australians.
The Australian New Zealand Screen Association (ANZSA) represents the film and television industry to help protect content and ensure it is distributed legally and safely.
Creative Content Australia (CCA) is a not-for-profit industry initiative committed to raising awareness about the value of screen content and the impact of online content theft.
Australian Copyright Council - www.copyright.org.au
1. Creative Content Australia annual research www.creativecontentaustralia.org.au/research/2018
2. Digital Bait: How Content Theft Sites and Malware are Exploited by Cybercriminals to Hack into Internet Users’ Computers and Personal Data. The Digital Citizens Alliance (DCA) & RiskIQ 2015.
3. Matthew Johnson, What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You: Rogue Sites and Online Risk, MediaSmarts 2014.