Online piracy dips in Australia


Rebecca Hawkes

| 14 October 2015

Australia has witnessed a 4% drop in illegal content downloads thanks to the arrival of online streaming services like Netflix, Stan and Presto, according to new research.

A decline in the number of 18 to 24-year-olds stealing content has been witnessed, with 33% of those surveyed saying they now found their content legally through video-on-demand (VOD) services, said the IP Awareness Foundation.

"New streaming services have been a great game-changer ... we've seen a big take-up of those services," Lori Flekser, IP Awareness Foundation's executive director told ABC's RN Breakfast show. "There's been some significant shifts in the whole delivery of content."

The passing into legislation of the Copyright Amendment Bill 2015 in June, a high-profile legal case, and the proposed notification scheme have also contributed to the fall in piracy rates, the IP Awareness Foundation said, but warned against complacency.

While there was a dip in piracy among the youth segment, the 25 to 34 age group committed more online content piracy, the report found. In total, 25% of Australian adults between the ages of 18 and 64 steal content a decrease from the 29% noted in 2014.
The survey also found persistent pirates continue to maintain high levels of content theft, with 40% claiming to be pirating more than they did a year ago.

A similar report from consumer advocacy group Choice, released in September 2015, also found overall piracy levels in Australia were dropping thanks to an increase in legally available streamed content. Netflix launched its local service earlier this year, along with local subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services Stan (a joint venture between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media) and Presto (operated by Foxtel and the Seven Network).

Choice suggests there has been a drop of 2% in the past year of illegal downloads. However, a third of Australians still download, stream or watch pirated TV shows or movies online, the group maintains.

Ultimately, Australian society's attitude towards online piracy needs addressing, said IP Awareness Foundation's Flekser.

"People thinking that piracy is theft is a falling statistic year on year, so we are trying to remind people that content has an enormous value ... and for them to think before they click," she told ABC.