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iiNet's Steve Dalby To Village Roadshow: 'It's Not Our Job To Stop Online Infringers'

Return fire! After the head of Village Roadshow Australia, Graham Burke, accused iiNet and its Chief Regulatory Officer, Steve Dalby, of lying about piracy, Dalby fired back saying that the ISP doesn’t condone copyright theft before adding that Burke is concerned about losing his “middle-man status” in content distribution. Oh, it’s on.

Yesterday in an interview with Gizmodo, Co-CEO of Village Roadshow, Graham Burke, accused iiNet of weaving a “fabric of lies” about how the content industry is responding to piracy.

Burke also said that iiNet’s Stephen Dalby had made “outrageous” comments in a recent call-to-arms to customers, asking them to write to the government about their piracy concerns.

After the article was published yesterday, iiNet’s Dalby took to our comments section to respond: “Perhaps we’ve touched a nerve,” he wrote.

Burke believes — like the Attorney General George Brandis — that Australia is “statistically one of the worst countries in the world” for piracy. Dalby, however, notes that Australia is also a highly successful market for legal content distribution as well.

“Mr Burke is obviously concerned about the increasing threat to his ‘middle-man’ status by the changes in technology and has failed to mention his colleague Simon Bush’s comments that the (Aust Home Entertainment Distributor’s Assoc) figures showed that “on a per capita basis Australia is second only to the United States in digital consumer revenues.

“So Australians are not only the worst pirates, but one of their best performing markets. Outrageous!,” Dalby wrote.

He wanted to make it clear from the outset that iiNet isn’t interested in its customers stealing content, before using Burke’s assertions against him.

“Piracy is wrong. We don’t condone it. But it’s not our job to fix.

“Mr Burke suggests that my comments are outrageous. I’m sure he doesn’t like us pointing out some of the outrageous suggestions from his own industry.

“You know, stuff like “You wouldn’t steal a car, you wouldn’t steal a handbag…It’s not our job to catch car thieves. It’s not our job to catch bag-snatchers. It’s not our job to stop on-line infringers. Whoa! ‘Outrageous!'”.

Burke also accused iiNet of profiteering from the pirates on its network. Dalby says that’s a misnomer.

“Mr Burke also shows his ignorance of the ISP revenue model. Not only is he totally wrong, but I think he fails to be outrageous. The ISP subscription model, commonly in place in Australia, does not charge by the download, as he suggests, it is a fixed fee per month. In that model ( a bit like gym membership) the less data a customer uses, the more profitable they are.

“This was an argument that failed the logic test in the High Court, but don’t let that get in the way of your outrage Mr Burke.”

All that, before bringing it home strong:

“Finally, if this is all about protecting 906,000 Aussie jobs why is it that not one single example of Aussie content ever gets a mention. It’s always about American movies, music and TV.

“If you want to protect Aussie jobs, Mr Burke, how about you turn up to the industry talks and put something on the table? Where is the quid-pro-quo for Australian ISPs to do the bidding of your American masters?

“No. I thought not.”

You can see (and upvote) Dalby’s comments here.


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