Australia Worst In The World For Piracy, According To Our Attorney-General

Australia's piracy crackdown is coming. It's just a matter of when. The architect of the plan, Attorney General George Brandis, appeared before a Senate Estimates Committee late last week, and confirmed that the three-strikes plan against piracy is still on the table, but not before slamming his country with the brand of "worst nation for piracy on the planet".

In an exchange with Greens' Senator Scott Ludlam, Brandis confirmed that a three-strikes program is something he's considering, given that Australia has such a torrid history with piracy.

When asked by Senator Ludlam about anti-piracy measures he's considering, Brandis replied:

Unlike the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, France and many other comparable countries, Australia lacks any effective protection against online piracy. Australia, I'm sorry to say, is the worst offender of any country in the world when it comes to piracy, and I'm very concerned that the legitimate rights and interests of rightsholders and content creators are being compromised by that activity.

Brandis was also asked about the three-strikes plan, and confirmed that it was still on the table for consideration.

But that was all Brandis was willing to confirm: the Attorney General refused to reveal who he had been consulting with when it came to the development of the anti-piracy plan.

The new Coalition government is considering a raft of anti-piracy measures, including a measured three-strikes plan that may see some users fined, charged or removed from their particular internet service provider if the warning limit is reached.

Other methods reportedly in Brandis' plan includes site blocking measures similar to those implemented in the UK. Sites like The Pirate Bay and other sites known to host anti-piracy material would likely be blocked under such a plan.

Brandis has reportedly already taken said plans to Cabinet, and is in close consultation with the content industry and studios to make sure that the measures pass.

What do you think is the best way to stop piracy in Australia? Tell us in the comments.



    Because we get shit service from the multi media providers. What the hell do you expect? Why do we have to wait for the US to see a movie, tv show... what ever.. before we are allowed to see it?

      You don't have to wait... when you can get free tickets to movies before their release like the AG gets.

    It's 2014, and the only way I can get a decent service that is better than piracy is to pretend my internet connection is in America so I can get American services, otherwise Australia is pretty much stuck in the 90's...

    Have they even tried to look at the reasons why Australia "is the worst offender of any country in the world when it comes to piracy"?
    Piracy is a symptom of a failed distribution system. This "solution", and any of those suggested in the past, is like putting a band-aid on a severed artery. It'll do nothing to stem the tide.

      Conservatives generally don't bother to look into reasons, because they just expect you to follow the law and do as you are told.

      Definitely, but there'll always be some degree of piracy - there'll always be somebody who won't pay for content if they can get it for free. Having a reasonably priced system like Netflix/Hulu here in Australia would go a long way to stopping casual piracy. Or hell, just let people subscribe directly to the producers for the TV shows they want to watch, instead of packages.

      A failed distribution system , bollocks.

      The average cost of wages is twice what it is in the US or UK. The size of our country and its low population makes the cost of distribution excessive.

      People look at the cost to distribute something digitally and think is a zero cost function , completely overlooking the higher fixed cost of IT networks , marketing , rent , power in Australia that needs to be covered in the cost of goods sold in Australia. Its no where near as simple as saying $50 in the US should be sold at $50 x exchange rate = costs here. Too many stupid people push incorrect information on the subject and the masses swallow and repeat it.

      People pirate because they want stuff for free and they want it now not when it is distributed. There is no justification for it. I wish the pirates would just admit they are doing it because they don't want to pay for it and don't have the patience to wait for it.

        I download series because I cant wait for legitimate distribution. Later on I buy the blu rays so I can appreciate it in my 40k home theatre with 11.2 surround. ISP's will be shattered when everyone downs there data caps lol.

        Sooo you want people to admit to something that just isn't true?
        Go home Mr Murdoch your drunk.

        The average cost of wages is twice what it is in the US or UK.

        This should have absolutely zero bearing on the local price of goods produced overseas.

          You need to ship them around Australia.

          The cost of the people at the airport receiving them is twice as high , same with the customs brokers clearing them , the truck driver taking them to the warehouse , the guy placing the order for the stock , the guy entering the order for the stock , the IT manager ensuring the system is running fine , the guy putting them away , the guy picking them in dispatch , the guy loading them on the outbound truck , the guy driving the delivery truck , the bloke at the shop receiving them and selling them.

            What about digital delivery?

              +1 , Funny how the Kangaroo was answering all other questions... except yours... LOL. just another equally ignorant person he is.

            And yet in most cases you can import these products yourself for cheaper than what it costs a large company to bulk ship them.

            Our relatively high wages in this country is not an excuse to charge us double the price for the same product. Locally produced products I can understand due to higher labour costs. But not products produced overseas.

            Last edited 02/06/14 2:23 pm

            What's the cost for all those things for digital goods per unit, fucko? Cents. Not double the fucking price.

            Last edited 02/06/14 7:48 pm

              If an item is created in America, stored on an American server and bought in America (technically), isn't it reasonable to ask that we pay American prices for digital content (or close to it?)

              This isn't a matter of the whole distribution chain being twice the cost, at worst the providers may be leasing Australian server space, but that is by far one of the smallest costs in the whole system.

              I do agree that in the case of an Australian made game, costs may be higher, but I would also say that it would mean that in other markets, the game will be more expensive compared to others. Doesn't really seem to happen....

        It's more expensive to do business here but not that much unless you're hiring thousands of locals which a digital distribution system will not. The real issue is the bureaucracy- some things, such as entertainment would be better suited for a global control rather than national, things like ratings boards are excessive, I think we need one which can cater to multiple cultures, it'd sure as hell cut the cost of application by a lot.

        The average cost of wages is twice what it is in the US or UK.

        So is our cost of living. That argument has been dead for over a decade and has no relevance now.

        Last edited 02/06/14 12:30 pm

          So you can see our cost of living is higher but dont accept that higher rate as valid for content. Not sure why you cant see that content would therefore cost more.

            So you can see our cost of living is higher but dont accept that higher rate as valid for content.

            If the good is manufactured here than I can understand that is would cost more due to labour costs.

            But if the product is from overseas, I should not have to pay local labour costs for something that was manufactured for pennies overseas.

            So I don't have to accept the high price. There is no justification: the prices are high because most distributors are able to charge what they like without consequence and use baseless comments to retroactively justify their actions.

              The real kick in the teeth is when a movie is created/filmed in Australia, ie The Lego Movie, and then we are the last ones to have it released in our cinemas. That is complete nonsense and totally unfair.

              People want to watch something when it is new. Not months down the track when it finally hits our shores and some neckbeard in the US has already spoiled the ending for us...

            Wait.. if we follow that logic then a new car would still cost 29,990 for a [email protected] 2 seater. Why is it the car industry is put under the 'change or die' worldwide competition but when it comes to media distribution the government holds their hand to wander off into the sunset as if they don't need to change the way they do business.

            Why can we pay 5 bucks for a t-shirt that some Bangladeshi kid?

        Right. Because Apple has no money or means in distributing content. Absolute trash. There are shows you still can't access digitally. Therefore, it's a service and distribution problem. Why can't I buy Dexter off of iTunes in Australia? No idea. It isn't available. That show started in 2006.

        You can now buy Sons of Anarchy Season 4. Which is nice. Forgetting the part where season 7 has started and there is no way, from what I can tell, to buy the other seasons in this country. But, sure. It's just because people want free stuff. Your glibness is astounding. Season 5 won't make it's way over until July this year. Which is, almost, 2 years after it finished airing. But sure. Aussies just want free stuff. Your logic is infallible.

        Australia has always been behind. And to call it our populations problem is pure stupidity.

        "Too many stupid people push incorrect information on" Re-read what you just wrote. I hope what you wrote was a joke. Because there is no way in hell I live on the same planet with someone that glib.

          Why can't I buy Dexter off of iTunes in Australia? No idea. It isn't available. That show started in 2006.

          Distribution licensing. There must be something there letting either a local or foreign distributor block any and all attempts to offer the content on iTunes.

          You can buy those shows on DVD or you can watch them on Foxtel. it is being delivered , you just choose to want it on a different format and will steal to get it , good on you.

            Your upset he wants to pay for them in a manner that is convenient to him? Or does your argument fall apart when people try to use Digital Distribution?

            Why can't he buy them iTunes or Googleplay why must he have a Hard copy such as DVD or Blu-ray. Also he can only buy Season 4, but they are up to Season 7 in the US so he's 3 years behind. Come on, we live in a world where we can access these shows hours after the US if we're allowed to, but BS backdoor deals are the only thing preventing us. So when confronted with the option of not being able to legally purchase the product he wants he downloads it, avoids Internet spoilers and than buys it when it's legal.

            And as for Paying Foxtel, to hell with that I would rather give my money to somebody who actually creates content. I helped my friend solve a massive problem with his AV Equipment today. He got a new Foxtel box and it refused to work through his Receiver and would only work when directly plugged into the TV. HDMI connections only.

            The old box worked fine through the Receiver and he wasn't allowed to keep it because he moved house. They forced him to trade to a small Capacity box that doesn't connect to his Receiver or Stop getting Foxtel. Seems totally fair.

            More and more people don't have DVD players as they are quite dated, and Foxtel is a joke when it comes to cost.

            Unblock services like Netflix and Hulu plus which ARE legal in Australia but blocked unless you reroute your internet through the US, and the problem will be solved.

              The services themselves are not blocked. From what I can tell, the sites detect you are outside the US and then refuse to offer the content.

              I do not think the block is actually here.

        so, is this the reason that Digital Distribution costs soo much more here?

        This coming just after a comment about how people never look at actual, quantifiable reasons and evidence and just... say shit, instead. No, the reason is not "I'm terrified of the other so I make stuff up that separates me from them". That kind of transparent idiocy hasn't worked for a while now, get the memo.

        The average cost of wages is twice what it is in the US or UK

        That's not remotely true. The comparison for Australia to the US and UK is usually flawed anyway, because they don't measure the same things.

        For example, the headline figure for the UK is the "average weekly wage for employees", and in May 2014 was ~£474.00 (~$855.00) ( This is for all employees - both full-time and part-time - aged 16-64.

        The Australian headline figure is the "Full-time adult average weekly total earnings", which excludes part-time workers and most employees aged between 16-21, and is - as of November last year - $1498.70 (£830.07) ([email protected]/Products/6302.0~Nov+2013~Main+Features~Key+Figures?OpenDocument).

        That's the least favourable calculation, and even then the Australian figure is still not quite double the UK's.

        There is another ABS calculation for "All employees average weekly total earnings", which is closer to the UK one in that it includes part-time workers (though still excludes most workers aged 16-21), which is $1115.40 (£617.77). That's nowhere near double - it's not even 50% more - and still exaggerates Australia's actual average wage costs by missing somewhere between 800,000 - 2,000,000 workers who earn less than the minimum wage (i.e. juniors in areas such as the hospitality and retail industries).

        As you say "Too many ... people push incorrect information on the subject and the masses swallow and repeat it".

        Last edited 02/06/14 3:48 pm

        This isn't just about cost. Its about how we are treated. Try watching a series on TV here. For example, I am trying to watch Person Of Interest on Nine, all week promotions have been telling us there will be a NEW episode on Sunday night. Needless to say Nine's idea of new is the same episode they showed last Sunday. Should I now wait a week to see if maybe nine allows us to watch a 'new' episode next week or should I use the US iTunes and get the next several episodes inline with the US and avoid any spoilers.

        As can been seen in the music industry, its not about getting content for free. Its about getting content when people want it, for a price that is reasonable.

        When up to 250,000 aussies have Netflix / hulu accounts and are paying a VPN fee plus a service fee then they don't want free. they want SERVICE

        Also you can host the servers in the us etc where it's cheaper power + servers and wager are cheaper. then just stream the service to Australia.. this is the internet it's all about a spread network that doesn't need to be centrally hosted. obviously with vpn and hulu from the us people are ok with the speeds.. and without VPN from the same location it would be faster.

        You sir are the uninformed one. The cost here is no more than anywhere else. ESPECIALLY when it comes to digital. because we buy the games at Aus vs American prices. so any increase in distribution and wages here should be covered by lower costs in the country we buy them from. GTA made more than 500 million as a game.

        "People look at the cost to distribute something digitally and think is a zero cost function , completely overlooking the higher fixed cost of IT networks , marketing , rent , power in Australia that needs to be covered in the cost of goods sold in Australia"

        1. IT network costs - the money I pay to my ISP? Distributors don't need a local network connection, the Internet is international
        2. Marketing - web pages are also international, they can just as easily be managed from overseas
        3. Rent - no need for local distributor, especially for downloaded video
        4. Power - Are you talk about my electricity bill, to run my computer? Doesn't relate to vendor prices.

        You're an idiot, internet use is free in the USA and almost free in the UK at 10 times the speeds. Waiting 3 years for GoT is acceptable to you? Pull your head out of the sand and open your eyes.

        I am questioning your assertion from my technical background. Where is the extra money going to for digital or online distribution? Recently the Anti-Competition Commission raised this issue with software which is where my thoughts have come from. No-one had a real answer. They all went ummm ummm… OK, the media rights for TV/movies issue is a completely different problem. It originates from some ancient system when we only had DVDs and the greedy TV/movie networks unwilling to part with profit. (my biased opinion) Our market is too small for Netflix/Hulu etc. So that is a huge and complex problem which I imagine has lots of the normal politics. However the download cost of digital media (just a file being downloaded or streamed) is paid by me. I pay my ISP big bucks each month for my constrained download limit and speed.

        That is not relevant to wages, distribution costs as these servers generally do not exist in Australia. If we are downloading from Australian servers that cost more to rent/manage/ISP costs than US based servers I could see that adding to cost. However, I would be surprised if the majority of these servers were not located in the US or Asia where costs are less or at least equal to the US? The only other common sense is exchange rates. Consider Amazon. They have created competitively priced digital sites on Australian domains with Audiable and Amazon kindle books. (Audiable/

        People will always pirate however in countries where there are cost effective/quality services like Netflix, Hulu etc this can decrease significantly. The first key is to create these services. Foxtel is a major barrier to this. Their short term thinking has held us back. They always seem 10 years behind anyone else. Their Foxtel play service is an example. Expensive and crap quality. (unless you view it on an ipad) We can’t just chose sport for example. The list of well documented criticisms goes on and on. They say bandwidth is the reason, I say you are full of “it”. If I want HD, I pay for it. Sure they have to pay their isp for upload. I say add that to the cost. Make it an option. If it costs more for Foxtel to host a HD movies because of space and isp costs etc (I imagine it would be marginal) than add that on but let me chose.

        I want a simple service like Netflix (which I use) were it detects my bandwidth and increases quality. But the real reason they won’t is because they want to lock people in to a satellite service and sell them the IQ and all the other garbage I don’t want to watch. (and advertising too!) Sure that is the Rolls Royce but not everyone needs IQ etc. Many just want Fox Sports in basic HD streamed to a TV/BluRay Player or WD TV box. I do this now on all of these devices accessing Netflix, Hulu, Vudu and have access to dozens of others. I pay for the extra bandwidth. Netflix only needs about 4 meg/sec to get very nice quality streaming. (of course latency is critical) but this is achievable in Australia. Why can’t Foxtel use the same technology that numerous other streaming services in the US have been using for many years? We could go on for hours.

    Worst in the world? We are great at piracy!

    why are the people in power the only ones who dont understand the problem. availability, price and conveiniance. make all the material being pirated easily available at a reasonable price that doesn't require jumping through hoops. look at what itunes or spotify has done to music priracy made available cheaply without hassle.

      They know the reason for the problems, the problem is that the content rights holders in this country have a lot of dollars which means they call the shots, Murdoch has a cry and the Politicians come running with the tissues asking what can they do to make Mr Murdoch all happy again. He has a whinge that the Pirates are bullying him, so they unleash the Brandis to make everything all better again.

      Spotify , superb for the consumer , terrible for the artists making the music. No artist will ever make money from Spotify.

        What... You really think that artists make any large sum of money from traditional album sales? So naive.

        They never have and never will. Kurt Cobain from Nirvana was homeless despite their album topping both the radio and sales charts.

        Last edited 02/06/14 1:28 pm

          You are right the record companies exploit their artists just like video games publishers pay peanuts to developers , however Spotify is paying much less than the old system was. They get 0.006 each time a song is streamed.

            The record labels would have an agreement in place with Spotify stipulating how much is paid and when.

            Did Spotify get the long stick here? Probably, and just like any business in the world thats what their goal is. Good on them.

            Record labels dont like it? Renegotiate.

          he was homeless because he had a drug addiction. the rest or nirvana are not homeless.

      You misunderstand. The "people in power" know what the problem is, they're not stupid! The problem is that they don't care about you, they care about keeping the money flowing.

      It's a special kind of tragic when someone who steals is given more punishment than someone who sexually assaults another person...

    What justification does Brandis have for Australia being the “worst nation for piracy on the planet”?

      My best guess is that everyone is still going off the torrent freak stats. They were used by the US Ambassador to Aus to have a moan about how much Australians pirate and how it hurts hollywood. The stats indicated (for the latest GoT episode at the time) that Australians were the "Highest per Capita" downloaders of said GoT episode, i.e. divide the population of Australia by the number of downloads.
      If you looked at the full stats though, we were low in the top 5 for total downloads of said episode, with US & UK at the top, with figures that were many times higher than Australia.

    "Worst in the world"...? That wouldn't be hyperbole now would it...?
    I'm wondering how much the industry is paying him for his comments...

    Last edited 02/06/14 9:19 am

      At least we're the worst at something. Kinda boring being the best at everything all the time :P

        Tell that to the Socceroos.

      the industry gets the majority of their money from the government... so the question is... how much is brandis paying himself to make those comments... now THAT'S the kind of Brandis conversation I wanna listen to!

      I'm wondering how much the industry is paying him for his comments...
      No shit. As soon as I started reading his dribble, I wondered, why is it, that an Australian government is concerned with, mainly, international pockets and revenue. Seems like Brandis need to be investigated for taking bribes. This dickhead needs to look at the root cause of piracy. Hint; it's not the fucking consumer!
      Some people will always pirate no matter what. It's the same as, some will murder, rape and steal. It can't be eradicated completely.
      The way we consume media in 2014 is vastly different to how we consumed media in 1980, yet the media companies haven't really changed in the same time. We are much busier now and want to be able to consume on demand, without having to pay 6 different companies for that privilege.

        Unless something is said with a statistic quoted 2 seconds after it from a reputable third party I believe nothing. when people just speak.. it makes you positive they are lying

    I cant find any report saying Australir is the worst for piracy?

    Love the Logic... We are the worst country for downloading pirated content in the world, something must be done!

    But Sir, shouldn't we discover why Australians are pirating in the first place?

    Don't be stupid! We must crack down on these criminals taking money from our American Lobby Group Friends, by using proven ineffective 3 strike policies, and forcing ISPs to pay for the service.

    Not only will we hit them at the petrol bowser, but every Australian will have to pay the MPAA tax to use the internet. GG

    Hmmmm. I don't recall walking down city streets or going into shopping centres in Australia where there are thousands of bootleg DVDs and software on sale, the way there is in China or Thailand. I would put those countries as way worse (or better?) at Piracy than Australia.

    They just don't have foxtel and village roadshow in their back pockets

      Yeah, was about to say "worse than China???"

    Has anybody tried watching the video of this exchange? Brandis might just be the most boring and infuriating politician to listen to in Australia's history. He interrupts Scott Ludlam all the way through the video, but when Ludlam does it to him like twice he gets all sh*tty about it.

    In any case, he can't actually do anything about piracy in this country, much as he might like to think he can. I've said it before, but these "measures" he's planning to take have done jack sh*t in the UK and NZ to stop piracy. Know why? Because they're EASY TO CIRCUMVENT. The same people he's trying to police know more about the internet than he does, so who do you think is going to come out on top when push comes to shove?

    Hey, here's a novel idea. Instead of making blatantly hyperbolic and biased statements like "Australia is the worst in the world for piracy", why don't you actually ask the people of Australia why they pirate stuff in the first place (availability and price... as has been stated OH so many times)? Oh but wait... that goes against the interests of the big media corporations and lobby groups doesn't it? Wouldn't want to risk losing those valuable sources of income for the Coalition coffers would you?

    My dollars go to Netflix for majority of my content because its a reasonably priced service that gives me more content than I have time to watch.

    They are being ignorant thinking they can lay down the law and stop people from pirating , there are tons of easily accessible ways to stay undetectable while downloading on the internet so they will get nowhere and waste more tax payers money.

    oooo 3 strikes and a "we totally wont abuse this" filter, the parents and nans out there whose (grand)kids showed them how to torrent must be shaking in their boots

    seriously its been said, fix the problem with a carrot instead of the stick, a stick that in this case that has been tried and proven useless many times

    As long as the big content providers continue to screw us over then we will continue to pirate. It really is that simple. Provide the damn service and we will pay for it!

    Pirating has been my greatest discovery tool. If I find an music artist I like I will go to concerts, buy merchandise, etc. If I can't pirate then I will not discover and will just go see local bands and buy there music and merchandise. It's not my loss, but the industries loss. In regards to movies the only time I will pay money to watch a movies is that I can get a refund if the movie sux (which would be 70% or more of the crap I have seen in the last 3 years or more). With music you can at least sample all tracks and have a good idea of if you want to own it or not before you pay money.

      The industry likes this. instead of producing all types of music.. if they have control of the only 3 artists you know about then you will buy their stuff or it is played relentlessly on the radio. why pay for promotion of 100 bands hoping 1 is big when you can just promote 1 and guarantee it

    I may have to agree with this statement; With the slow, unreliable, expensive and altogether poorly supported network infrastructure, Australia is indeed the worst place on the planet to pirate stuff. Let's improve our network and services!
    Let's make Australia the best place for piracy in the world!
    (Sarcasm self-test complete)

    I respectfully suggest the Senator travel to a non-WIPO signatory country for some fact finding. An absurd statement like that represents a terrible lack of understanding of what piracy is and how it works - certainly such a poor comprehension of the situation is unacceptable in our Attorney-General.

    Of course, it is possible that this is a statement of political hyperbole intended to justify a series of actions that have little to do with public interest, but a lot to do with vested interests of certain powerful and well-funded industry bodies. In which case, this isn't about the law, it's about money - which I would think is also behaviour unacceptable in our Attorney-General.

    Arrrrrrrr.........I love a salty tale, Matey.

    Says the man who took money away from the most significant movement against institutionalised paedophilia we've ever had and put it towards scoring points against his political opponents... Can we please just sack him?

      All of them.

      Their entire front bench is pretty hated. None of them could win the people. Then again, I honestly don't think they care.

      It's like the drug tests for welfare. Pointless. Time consuming. The worst possible way to approach the issue. The way they seem to go about things.

        Agreed they have all been pretty awful thankfully their polls seem to reflect that performance.

        But the AG hit a brand new low with that funding controversy in my opinion. Generally protecting children has been one of the few solid bipartisan agendas, sometimes if differs on how but stopping child abuse is definitely a universally agreed necessity... Cutting into it to score political points is reprehensible.

        Hell and this is coming from someone who never wants to have kids and can't stand being around the annoying little bastards....but still I think they *need* protection, they're the only real innocents in the world. That royal commission was an amazing thing that was long overdue and honestly seemed to be achieving more than I'd dared hoped it could.

        *edited to remove a spelling error*

        Last edited 02/06/14 5:50 pm

    It wouldnt only be polite if they waited until after this season of GoT is finished before making me purchase a VPN subsription for a few dollars a month.

    This is the coalition way. They make an outlandish statement as if it was fact, then introduce measures to address the fantasy. This is just another "budget crisis", another "boat people". There is no room for fact finding in this philosophy.

    Your Friendly reminder folks:
    Please consider signing, as it is a valid format for a Senate petition and Senator Ludlam has stated he will present it in the Senate, so it IS that smidge more useful than the usual standard online petitions that do nothing. It will at least let some in government know that they should maybe listen to more folks than just industry reps on this issue.
    Worth a look if you haven't already :-)
    Policies etc and Preferences etc are all membership rank and file collaboratively driven.

    Hey look, Clean Feed, not like we didn't see that one coming. I give it, an hour, before the first non-piracy site is blocked by "accident".

    If they want to end piracy. Stop dicking us around. It's not that hard.

      It's so hard, though. They're like... pathologically incapable of NOT dicking us around.
      It's Pavlovian at this point.

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