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Legal downloads not cutting it for Australians: Comms Alliance survey

New research shows Australians are still unimpressed with content availability in this country, saying the answer to tackling piracy is cheaper and quicker access to TV shows and movies, not increased regulation.

Nicolas Raymond, CC BY 2.0

The majority of Australians believe they are waiting too long and paying too much for their favourite music, movies and TV shows, and that rights holders should be fixing this in order to tackle piracy, rather than calling for increased regulation.

That's according to new research [PDF] conducted by JWS Research and released by telecommunications industry body Communications Alliance, which analysed the responses of 1,500 Australians towards copyright infringement.

While 55 percent of Australians said they believe Australia has "a problem with online copyright infringement," when it came to remedying the situation, respondents overwhelmingly put the responsibility at the foot of rights holders.

Roughly two thirds of respondents said Australians wouldn't pirate content if rights holders released content quicker and "had cheaper, fairer pricing", and less than 20 percent said piracy would be effectively tackled with government regulation.

One survey participant said rights holders "have to cater to what people want, not say, 'well this is what you get'" while another said the industry had "not kept pace with the way people want to consume their product...they're not following the way people have changed their values around consumption".

When it came to enforcement and regulation, almost three quarters of respondents said pirates would "continue to find ways around" ISP-led enforcement systems and that accessible content was the ultimate solution. However, if ISPs were forced to police piracy, 60 percent of respondents said rights holders should reimburse ISP costs.

And as far as costs for content were concerned, Comms Alliance claims to have found the sweet spot for accessing TV shows, with modelling showing that most Australians would be happy to pay AU$1.20 to $1.70 per downloaded episode.

Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton said the survey showed that there was a "strong alignment" between the views of many Australians and those of ISPs.

"[The survey] paints a picture not of a nation of rampant pirates, but rather a majority of people who agree that action taken should include steps to reduce the market distortions that contribute to piracy," he said.

"In our submissions to Government on these issues we have stressed the need for a multi-faceted approach to online copyright infringement -- a scenario in which all stakeholders have a constructive role to play. For our part this has included moving toward a cooperative 'follow-the-money' strategy designed to restrict the advertising revenues flowing to websites that promote or facilitate online copyright infringement."

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