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Indie artists have the most to lose from piracy, says ARIA

As the who's-who of the content industry gathered to launch a new guide to digital content, the head of ARIA says piracy doesn't just affect the big fish.

Sia is one of the artists represented by ARIA. Facebook/Sia

The leaders of Australia's creative content industries have banded together in an effort to address piracy, launching a new service designed to point consumers in the right direction to find films, TV shows and music.

The new Digital Content Guide offers consumers a single portal to browse services offering both free and paid content to download or stream. The site then directs users to each service's website so they can legally access the content they're after.

There are no specific details on pricing on the site and users can't search for a specific program or artist they're after; but the Digital Content Guide is just that, a way of guiding consumers towards legitimate means of accessing content.

Joining the likes of Village Roadshow, Foxtel, and Universal Sony Pictures, the CEO of the Australian Recording Industry Association Dan Rosen said the Content Guide was a valuable service, both for consumers looking to get their hands on content and for rights holders looking to direct Australians away from illegal downloads.

Rosen admitted there was "no silver bullet" to solve piracy, but it required a three-fold approach.

"We need to make it easier for people to do the right thing, so we need to innovate and invest in new business models, which we're doing. We need to educate people on doing the right thing and what it means, [and tell them] here are all the services you can go to."

"And we've got to make it a little harder for people to access the wrong sites, and that's hopefully what we're working through with the government and ISPs and consumers."

As the head of a body representing the interests of artists and record labels, Rosen said it was important for Australians to remember that piracy is "not a victimless crime", and that the victims weren't just major multinational labels.

"It's impacting on artists," he said. "It's funny -- people always say it's the big content owners. My members are the big and small record labels, but it's actually the small record labels, the indies, that are the most vehement about it. Because for them, you take a little bit off -- and their margins are so small anyway -- it's really, really hard for them."

While some have been quick to criticise the film and TV industries for failing to embrace the world of digital content, saying it has helped piracy get a foothold in the Australian consumer consciousness, Rosen said the music industry has had time to adjust to the new world order.

"I think music was the first industry to go into the internet revolution -- I mean Napster was 1999, so it's been a long time," he said. "The music industry is 55 percent digital, so we're a digital industry.

"It does take time for industries to adapt. And I think the film and TV guys are adapting and innovating all the time, and we can see that everyone is on the same path.

"People always want things to move faster, but I think we are embracing it."