What "lost sales to piracy"?

, posted: 12-May-2011 13:20

Chris Keall at NBR has looked at the Flicks NZ Cinema Census that apparently asked some 4,000 people about whether or not they download movies without paying - and lots of people do.
Why do they do it? Mainly because you can't get the stuff in NZ legally.
What's more, Flicks' Paul Scantlebury says there won't be a legal service in NZ as it's not viable.
Some times you do get the material in NZ too, but only after it has done the rounds in overseas markets, maybe months after. This could be sporting events or current affairs which don't have a shelf-life of months - neither do most movies.
If that isn't an incentive to "pirate" I don't know what is. The other thing to bear in mind is that given a choice of watching stuff on say Freeview instead of slowly and cumbersomely downloading things over the Internet, most people will pick the first alternative.
I was talking to Paul Brislen at TUANZ this morning about the very same thing and he pointed out that the Irish are going the other way than us with their copyright law. Hamish Fletcher at the Herald has a story about it today, and it makes for interesting reading.
The story rightly says that the NZ law is one-sided in that it only focuses on enforcement and that this alone won't address the root cause of copyright infringement which as evidenced by the Flicks survey is largely due to lack of availability.
One important issue here is as Brislen says, "if you can't get the films in NZ, and they won't ever be available here, where are the lost sales?"
Where indeed. If there aren't any lost sales then what are we doing, introducing one of the harshest copyright enforcement regimes in the world?
Over the next year or so, will the rights holders hunt for repeat offenders to haul in front of the Copyright Tribunal to prove that the new law doesn't work without improving availability through legal alternatives for downloading?
If so, the new Copyright Act is a total failure.

Other related posts:
Over 1,000,000 torrents of downloadable books, music and movies
Megaupload and the US grand jury
Filesonic disables file sharing; due to MegaUpload?

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