Here's How Foxtel Wants To Punish You For Being A Pirate

Foxtel hates that you pirate stuff. According to the pay TV provider, it's costing jobs and hurting the company's bottom line. In its submission to the Government's copyright consultation process, Foxtel offers a pretty clear idea of how it would like to see you suffer for pirating content illegally.

The pay TV provider wrote in its 41-page government submission that it broadly supports the government's moves to crack down on piracy, adding a few suggestions on how it would tackle the problem of illegal content downloads.

Foxtel is largely in support of a "graduated response scheme" — also known as a three-strikes scheme — to crack down on problem pirates and repeat offenders. Rather than threaten pirates with legal action for their behaviour, Foxtel wants to educate consumers about their behaviour, much like the US Copyright Alert System does.

"A graduated response scheme, for example, provides a good opportunity to provide education to users in the environment in which they have infringed (for example, by way of diversion to a copyright education website or in an email notice received on the same device they have used to access the content itself).

"[Research shows]...that young people, in particular, may be downloading unauthorised content because they incorrectly believe it is the social norm or because they mistakenly believe that it does no real harm," Foxtel wrote in its submission.

A graduated-response scheme would see a user sent a prescribed number of warnings regarding their pirate behaviour before action is taken by the ISPs against a that specific account. Industry suggestions for suggested "actions" have included everything from a slowing of the service through to straight-up disconnection of service.

Foxtel has made it clear in its submission that it doesn't want to punish users by disconnecting their internet services, saying that such a punishment would lead to safety issues for consumers:

"Foxtel is not advocating for termination of accounts as a mitigation measure and accepts that a mitigation measure must not disable an account holder’s voice telephone service (including 000), email, security or health service."

Instead, Foxtel supports the punishments outlined by the US in its Copyright Alert System (emphasis added):

Foxtel strongly believes that the Australian scheme must have some mitigation measures as is the case in the US CAS. The CAS provides the carriage service provider with the discretion to implement one of a number of mitigation measures including:
significantly slowing down subscribers’ internet speed for a prescribed period; • restricting the web pages on the internet that are accessible using the subscriber’s account for a prescribed period; • implementing redirection of the subscriber’s internet account to an information page for a prescribed period or for such time until the subscriber undertakes an activity to acknowledge receipt of the notice; and/or • such other technological measure which will have an equivalent impact on the subscriber’s access to full internet capabilities, but which will not result in termination of the subscriber’s access to the internet and emergency services.

In describing the problem of piracy in Australia, Foxtel agrees that Australians are some of the most prolific pirates in the world. The pay TV provider is particularly upset that Aussies download shows like Breaking Bad and Game Of Thrones en masse, despite what it sees as an extensive effort to "fast-track" said shows from the US to Australia. But it isn't just fast-tracked shows that Aussies are pirating: It's Australian-made shows too.

Interestingly, the submission revealed that Foxtel conducts internal monitoring to see roughly how many people are stealing shows that it contributes production budget to. Namely, Foxtel noted that four of its shows in particular are being pirated in massive numbers.

Foxtel's own programs are also the subject of significant unauthorised downloading. Monitoring conducted for Foxtel shows that some of Foxtel’s most popular locally-produced programs are downloaded on an unauthorised basis at alarming rates, even when they are not currently airing. For example, during a recent 10 day period (19–28 August 2014), the following unauthorised downloading via peer-to-peer (P2P) was detected:
Wentworth—30,414 downloads; • The Real Housewives of Melbourne—6,388 downloads; • The Recruit—1,889 downloads; and • Australia’s Next Top Model—750 downloads.

As for who's to blame for piracy, Foxtel again notes the industry's perception that young people (between the ages of 12 and 17) are the most prolific pirates given their fluency with technology. However, it cites research saying that those claims don't hold water.

[Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation's] 2013 research provided differentiated findings for those aged 12–17 years and for adults. In relation to young people the research provides some useful background that can assist with designing educational responses to piracy. In relation to the incidence of, and attitudes to tackling piracy, the research notes that:
• despite anecdotal evidence that piracy is rife among young people, most 12–17 year olds say they do not pirate movies and TV shows (76 per cent were classified as ‘non active’); and • almost half (49 per cent) agreed that the internet should be more regulated to prevent piracy.

Despite these findings, Foxtel still wants a massive information campaign targeted at all age groups to tell Aussies that there are better ways to stream your content than pirating it or streaming it via Netflix.

Yep, you read that correctly: Foxtel is still upset about people streaming Netflix in Australia. From its submission:

"Reports suggest that Netflix already has a very large Australian subscriber base for its US service, even though accessing the US Netflix service from Australia may be a breach of the service’s terms and conditions and would not be consistent with licensing arrangements the service has in place with content suppliers," Foxtel wrote.

Unnamed industry executives believe that Australians streaming Netflix via VPN tunnels are as bad as pirates for this reason.

The piracy debate will come to a head tonight when Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull hosts a copyright industry forum designed to air the issues in public. We'll be live from that event so you won't miss a thing.

Read Foxtel's full submission here (PDF).

Is Foxtel's planned punishment for pirates acceptable? Would you wear such a punishment if you were found guilty under three strikes provisions? Tell us in the comments how you would effectively police and punish pirates if you were writing the legislation.



    i saw this article on the front page with just the title and picture and my immediate thought was the punishment was that you had to sign up to foxtel

      Unfair terms, unfair prices, unfair deals, unfair packages, unfair lengths of contracts...

      Seems pretty damn unfair to me. Spot on mate. Have an upvote.

      Last edited 09/09/14 10:42 am

        Unfair necessity of adverts during shows, unfair quality of 'support', the list goes on..

        Last edited 09/09/14 2:18 pm

          We had cable when it first started with no adverts. As soon as they started, we pulled the plug. We weren't paying money for goddamn ads. Screw that.

            I had Foxtel for a year or so as a child and remember my parents cancelling it due to "it costs too much" (once upon a time, when there was a machine that magically spat money out infinitely, this appeared to be a big "STFU" and not an actual reason to cancel it).

            I grew up, got a job, and finally purchased Foxtel. One year later, and I decided it was no where near worth the ~$130 I was paying for it. Switched to Netflix and haven't looked back.

              One of my mates came over from the states and stayed with us for two weeks. When she saw my cable tv subscription, she asked 'twenty channels? Is that it!? For 100 bucks a month!?' and laughed. Apparently she paid around 30 or so a month for over two hundred. At that point I just whimpered.

                I've had a Similar experience.

                Talking with friends in the US over Teamspeak, they asked how can you not have cable. Then we (another Aussie was on too) explained what the only choice in Australia was. They had to go to the website before they believed us. All of them agreed no point having Cable in this country.

                  Edit: Ever go back and read a comment you made and think 'why the hell did I say that?'

                  Yeah, that just happened. So I removed it. Christ what was I thinking.

                  Last edited 08/01/15 7:00 pm

    The biggest cause of piracy in Australia telling us how big of a problem piracy is. Oh boy.
    I'll stick with Netflix, thanks. Fox can call it piracy all they want, it won't make it true.

      Hmmm, 'illegal' Netflix is not a problem for the studio, artist,writers, crew etc, they are getting their cut thru subscription - its just the Local copyright monopoly holder who ensures we pay Australia Tax so they can continue to tell us that anyone that threatens their income stream is a terrorist paedophile

        +1 Monopoly being the operative word... They are the ones that need punishing..! :)

          If this were in the states it would be a clear cut antitrust case!

      Gray imports are not illegal.

        Well, it is a copyright infringement when you stream something from Netflix, however it is Netflix that is at fault. They only have a license to stream the content to people resident in the USA, so it is an infringement for them to stream elsewhere. If Netflix was ever sued, they could potentially try to recover costs by suing people who have breached their terms of service, but that's not copyright related.

        This is quite different to grey imports of physical goods like CDs. In that case, there is no copyright infringement because it just involves transporting existing copies of the work via non-official channels.

    If my internet service was somehow slowed down, restricted or redirected, I would feel disinclined to pay the full bill.

      In which case you'd end up in court or, at the very least, on a bad creditors list that would make it impossible for you to get a rental property or any form of finance.

      This isnt enough. I would go to the TIO for every single impeachment of my liberty, I would write letters of complaint to their complaints department, I would call their tech department every day whilst on the train home (i get free mobile calls) and lodge a fault report, i would work with other groups to use social media to bad mouth the company and compel others to switch to someone else, and I would (after i got bored) switch to someone else.

      Having an internet company tell you how you can use your internet is like having an electricity provider tell you when you can use your electricity, and for what appliances. Same with petrol companies telling you when, where and how you could drive, or a supermarket telling you what you can / can't buy and what dinners you have to make.

      I hate the 'nanny state' overlords that infest Australia as it is. I dont want more government or corporate intervention. Let me make my own decisions.

        Smack bang on the electricity issue. How much money do electricity companies make from people running grow houses? They don't report excessive power usage when they are making money from it... It's not until the cops ask about anything suss relating to the power usage that the truth is revealed.

        I've never heard the police say they want to deny certain people electricity because of how they use it.

          actually electricity companies do report things like that to police for consistent large spikes in otherwise moderate electricity uses.

    The next great moral issue of our time. VPN's

    I feel sorry for anyone who tries to pirate on Foxtel's upcoming broadband lol.

      would it be possible for them to block VPN services on their network?

        Traditional VPN (PPTP, L2TP) perhaps if they were blocking destination ports or using inspection... SSL VPN perhaps but it would expensive.

        Last edited 09/09/14 2:19 pm

    Fast tracking shows doesn't mean sq

      Why doesn't it? It is the networks sacrificing ratings, which means sacrificing revenue, in order to give customers a better service.

        Sacrificing ratings?

        Generally the only fast tracked shows are in high demand.
        Secondly, only subscribers are able to access the fast tracked shows.
        Finally, your name is fittingly ironic.

        It doesn't mean squat when everything else is fucked.
        You wouldn't buy a house that was on fire just because it had really nice curtains. Fast-tracking a very select, tiny sub-set of shows and charging premium packages to access them only barely attempts (and not very well) to correct a one of the many, many points that piracy or even streaming netflix has in terms of superiority over Foxtel.

        Lower prices are a no-brainer, lack of ads, a wide selection, all of which is available on-demand, playable in any quality available on any type of device. Foxtel wouldn't have to compete with free if it could be fucking bothered to compete on any of those other points, but no... instead, it tries to find every possible metric for value a product might have, and make it dramatically inferior and inconvenient.

        THAT'S why fixing one shitty little point for a tiny selection of shows means jack shit.

    If I could get presto for the same price I pay for netflix (even combined with, I would happily pay for it, and I'm sure most people would be the same. But I refuse to pay ridiculous money per month to watch ads, and having to pay extra for HD is even more laughable.

      Pay extra for HD Presto? I thought that was just satellite. I didn't think their streaming was all in HD at all lol.

        I meant foxtel as a whole, seeing as i would have to buy foxtel before getting presto

          Nope. Foxtel is satellite/cable. Foxtel Play is the gimped regular foxtel (low quality streams, streaming blackouts) via broadband with apps on TV ecosystems. Presto is more Netflix style, $9.99 a month, but still no HD, and only available via iOS, Android or browser.

            I am the Community Manager for Presto. Some misconceptions here that I wanted to clarify:
            * Presto is an ad-free service. You simply click and watch the movies you want with a subscription - There are no ads that will disrupt your movie watching before, during or after your movie session.
            * You don't need a Foxtel subscription to sign up and use Presto. Presto is a month-to-month subscription service priced at $9.99 per month for a raft of recent blockbuster release titles, with no lock in contract. Come and go as you please!
            * Presto is currently available in SD for iOS/Android tablet devices, via browser on PC/MAC and for the big screen via Chromecast.

              You should try selling a TV that has max 720p (or 480p) then let me know how you go.

              Are you going to offer HD..? If not why..?

                most morons with foxtel dont have HD so why would they bother to offer it?

                They don't give 2 shits about gaining/caring for new customers its all about making their monopoly larger and larger.

                Last edited 09/09/14 3:16 pm

              Presto is currently available in SD for iOS/Android tablet devices, via browser on PC/MAC and for the big screen via Chromecast.

              Congratulations on reinforcing the exact sticking point as to why no one wants to pay for Presto.

              And is also not free to those already forking out $100 a month for HD Foxtel to their TV...

    Hey If foxtel want to give me the SAME service (HD etc) as Netflix at the same price per month then ill happily swap. If not they can continue feeling butt-hurt that a US provider is giving us what we want instead of foxtel. If your not competitive stop complaining.
    Until then Netflix ahoy!

      Lets be fair, I'd consider paying double Netflix. I mean I'm paying for a DNS spoofer to use Netflix, and scale of markets etc. So $20 or less for a Netflix quality service with apps on all major ecosystems (shove tablet + website streaming as main usage) in High Definition.

        See i just use it through the web browser with hola unblocker.
        So im only paying $7 per month.

        You do understand that HD streaming is still krap. It's about bit-rates and most HD stuff is so highly compressed that the bit-rates aren't much of an improvement over SD.

          And they do the same to SD, making it infinitely shitter, and worse than DVD.

          Watch Dr Who on bbc iPlayer, then switch to HD, and tell me you can't t tell the difference. ABC iview is unwatchable in comparison to either.

          None of us are expecting bluray quality over streaming.

          Last edited 09/09/14 12:32 pm

            I'd pay a TV tax if it meant iView got kickass servers to stream HD properly.

              Shame the ABC got their budget cut, eh?

                Mark Scott has said that the cuts are forcing them to focus on the mobile and online areas as that's where the growth is. So.. as much as the cuts are unwanted (and hur dur tone abet sed he wuldn't cut), iView probably won't be hurt by it.

                  You know that more equipment (servers, switches, storage, etc) to allow HD streaming costs money right? Where do you think the internal projects for those installs/upgrades get their funding from? Mobile/online focus is for content publishing i.e. news articles and such. Bigger overall budget = more chance of upgrade projects being approved.


                  The cuts are coming from outsourcing production (further), HR and IT. Look it up. I also said that the cuts themselves are unwanted, but that iView is one of the areas Mark Scott said he'd be focusing on.

          Clearly you have not watched a HD NetFlix stream. It is a significant quality improvement over SD.

        The fact that Foxtel's actual cable TV subscription services still require you to pay $10/mo. extra to access HD content shows just how out of touch they are on that issue.

          its all about gouging every last cent they can out of the customer.

      So foxtel will be snooping how many internet connections in order to determine who is downloading their content? I thought there was a law against that ... or maybe it only applies to us plebs who don't have multi-million dollar clout

        Well to be fair they aren't snooping on anyone to get info from torrent trackers on the number of people who have downloaded their shows, it's publicly avilable information. Just to be ultra clear I am not defending FOXTEL, I hope they go broke trying to push their decades old business practices.

        Last edited 11/09/14 1:31 pm

    Fast tracking shows doesn't mean squat if you are still forced to pay 70 bucks a month for the privilege. When will the broadcasters take the damn hint? Make content easily accessible (decent streaming speeds) and reasonably priced, and the viewers will jump on board. It's like dealing with the music industry all over again. Perhaps we should break out the crayons and flash cards to try to get the message across??

    The best analogy I can think of is Foxtel is like the bully at school buying a bag of lollies for $0.50 and selling them individually for $0.75, only to complain to the principal and threaten the other kids when they work out how to get a whole bag for $0.50 straight from the canteen...

    This forum is going to be comedy gold.

    Foxtel’s own programs are also the subject of significant unauthorised downloading. Monitoring conducted for Foxtel shows that some of Foxtel’s most popular locally-produced programs are downloaded on an unauthorised basis at alarming rates, even when they are not currently airing. For example, during a recent 10 day period (19–28 August 2014), the following unauthorised downloading via peer-to-peer (P2P) was detected:

    • Wentworth—30,414 downloads;
    • The Real Housewives of Melbourne—6,388 downloads;
    • The Recruit—1,889 downloads; and
    • Australia’s Next Top Model—750 downloads.

    Who are these people? I don't even know them.

      i have foxtel so access to the comady channel at my house but i still download last week tonight and the daily show, would i be blocked for the downloading of a product i have paid for. i pay for a service but still get bombarded with adds that are played at a higher volume that the TV show.

        The "higher volume" issue may once have been a problem but the regulations changed a year or two ago and no ad will be approved for broadcast if it is too loud any more. The guidelines, and regulation of them, is very strict and loud ads simply won't get through the process any more. I work on a lot of ads for toys and stuff and those regulations are even tougher, probably the toughest in the world. e.g. Ads must show products to human scale, which means you have to show the product in a child's hands so everyone knows how big it is. It's good for me because it means ads made overseas invariably need work to pass Australian standards.

          That's not reality, there are still a ton of ads that are louder than the shows. Maybe not by as much, but they're still noticeably louder.

          Yep but they can use lower frequencies and more of the available bandwidth to make it appear louder.

          maybe for a single ad... but when you are watching a movie on TV and it cuts to the ad break the whole group is louder than the movie and it's fking annoying.

      yep.. those look like the type of programs 12-17 year olds would be watching.. ;-)

      I would like to know the 6,388 people who downloaded the The Real Housewives of Melbourne??

      Also are those figures all Australian downloaders (IP's originating in Australia) or worldwide?

      Last edited 09/09/14 11:14 am

        I know right? I kind of want to sit down with one of these people and figure out what makes them tick. I don't think I could find someone I could so badly relate with.

        Last edited 09/09/14 11:53 am

      So in 10 days, 38 thousand people screwed over Foxtel by downloading from a P2P website.... therefore we demand for the possible forecasted loses of what they call massive numbers, which is fact only 0.15% of Australia's population... we demand the harshest possible punishments possible by demanding you CRIPPLE our biggest possible competitor in media, the INTERNET which is used by over 18 million people (88% of the population of Australia).

      Aren't statistics awesome?
      a whole 0.0033% of Australia's Population pirated Next Top Model....

      Also I'd love to see proof that almost 50% of kids aged 12-17 think the internet should be more regulated... They don't even know what regulation means. I also don't believe 67% don't pirate. I bet this was a "study" of 20 people all living in some super rich suburb (that probably already had PayTV and Apple TV.

      The Real Housewives of Melbourne

      That's a show??

      Yeah I would be more worried that only 750 people want to watch a show FOXTEL pays millions to produce. Let's imagine all 750 people paid the $1.99 per episode of Next Top Model, how much would that really have contributed to that shows bottom line?

      Last edited 11/09/14 1:34 pm

    what if you are in a share house and your housemate is "stealing" movies or whatever and his actions cause your internet to be capped/slowed through no fault of your own. now you are not responsible for said person but are still being punished. and once you do get a warning that will be a trigger to get a VPN to avoid the site blocking. this is the problem with people writing laws for new tech when they are the same people who struggled to program a VCR to record their favorite TV show back in the 90s...they just dont get it

      They expect you to dob in your mate and he gets whatever punishment. Doesn't help you're stuck on the connection that's been slowed down because of him though.

    I have a Netflix account and its great for the money. Foxtel is scared people will wake up and see how expensive and rubbish it really is and stop using them. all they care about is there profit margins and there going to do everything in there power to protect them. VPN all the way.

      > Foxtel is scared people will wake up and see how expensive and rubbish it really is and stop using them.

      People already are. I saw a post on here recently about how dramatically Foxtel subscriptions are dropping. It was something like a 50% drop in subscriptions since about 5 years ago.

    Exactly, If they (FOXTEL) provided similar service (read HD content on mulitple devices) at similar price (read NOT the hideous amount per month) then I would quite happily pay for it legally.

    Maybe 20+ years ago when Foxtel was TV over cable then the price may have been justified. But today when other companies are delivering on-demand HD content to any device for much less then maybe you had better look at your own business model instead of trying to block us from getting the better service elsewhere.

    Evolve or die!! ... and do us a favour and do it quietly!

      I could only like your comment once but it deserves a lot more.

    I have full foxtel and netflix because foxtel still offers a terrible back catalog streaming service compared to netflix. You get your shit together foxtel and I will stop giving money to Netflix. Won't mean you will get an extra $$ from me because I am already a customer. That's how shit you are Foxtel. In fact I may just cancel my subscription because of your ignorance and I will buy the TV series i want on my ATV with the extra $120 in my pocket each month. Thats 2-4 full seasons of shows a month. Stuff It I am done, I might have to subscribe to foxtel play during game of thrones if they lock that shit up again next year but otherwise I am out. Good job tossers.

    Even if these draconian laws go through, I honestly don't see how they will change anything if most Australians just end up going through a VPN. There is nothing illegal about using a VPN and you can't try and block access to Netflix because then people will really start complaining.

    Last edited 09/09/14 10:58 am

    For others FOXTEL is an overpriced service and people feel that's not even worth it. If you compare the price from Netflix and Foxtel, you will get more access to Netflix for a large fraction of the price.

    P-2-P / File sharing also benefits to the industry. People who cannot pay their cable service, can't afford to buy a DVD and see a movie still help promote their product. Just to give a good example to this issue is the Iron Maiden band. Massive downloads from torrent sites and p2p sites, it becomes more useful for them when planning tours. Instead of hunting down these pirates for lawsuits, it may be more rewarding to play for them. So from free file-sharing into fee-paying fans.

    These corporate companies are the criminals.

    When I had a cocktail table arcade machine on site, I made more money charging $1 for 2 credits than I did charging $2 for 1 credit - because more people were prepared to play at the cheaper price. Just saying.

      Steam sales already prove this every few months. 50% off a game equates to roughly 4 times more sales. The math is pretty simple.

        I won't use steam at all - even if it means I'll lose out on the best games. I'd rather pay full price and have a DVD in my hand (not-internet-connected). I've bought two games in recent months on DVD - a Tomb Raider game and Bioshock Infinite. I don't get to play them as they're steam based. Likewise, you don't expect my DVD player to be connected so I can watch a movie.

        On topic though, I cancelled my full Foxtel package subscription months ago and until they do something about all the bloody adverts, it will stay cancelled.

    If I could find a good (legal) content provider with sport, I would dump Foxtel in a second!! It is illegal to have a monopoly, Foxtel has a the monopoly thus the criminal.

    The thing that Foxtel doesn't understand is that it thinks that everyone who is a pirate would legitimately buy a foxtel subscription if piracy didn't exist.

    That is the dumbest thing I have ever heard.

    I didn't pay for Foxtel back in the dial up days when there was only 5 TV channels on free to air and I had no idea how to pirate stuff or the means to do so.

    So if the government ever successfully prevented me from obtaining a few shows here and there like Game of thrones for example i probably wouldn't complain and i certainly know I wouldn't pay $120 a month to watch it.

    Even if they lock down the credit cards (and seriously, they're not likely to do that), it will still be trivially easy to continue to use Netflix. I don't really pirate that much anymore, but private trackers and/or seedbox will still be fine. Graduated response won't go through though.

    I used to be a Foxtel subscriber, paying a fat fee for the 'privilege' of watching endless re-runs and even more ads than one gets on free-to-air. If Foxtel was to provide a fair price with an ad free service I'd be back with them tomorrow. Their problem is they got too greedy.

      I got bored with the endless re-runs of foxtel many years ago and so stopped paying the exorbitant price for the single channel i actually wanted and the other 5 i didn't want. I went to a friends place the other day who has foxtel and could see they're still running the same shows that I was watching many years ago. People are leaving foxtel because it sucks and there are now better alternatives. Wake up foxtel

    hahaha 750 people downloaded your show?! Is that like a significant amount of viewers to you? Boo Foxtel you whore

    Dear Foxtel,

    maybe give the ABC a call in relation to fast tracking shows.

    The Doctor

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