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ISPs hold key to stopping piracy says IPAF

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Research released by the Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation suggests 72 per cent of people would stop illegal downloads if asked by their internet service provider.

IPAF is hoping to build on the success of last year’s “Accidental Pirates” campaign with a new ad to drive home the message that piracy is theft.

Gail Grant, IPAF CEO, says 44 per cent of people who saw that campaign changed their view of the issue and its impact.  

The findings revealed 72 per cent of users would reconsider downloading illegal content if their Internet Service Provider (ISP) educated them about the issue.

“We found that there’s still a lot of confusion and a lot of blame out there,” Grant told Tech Guide.

“We’re calling on internet service providers to see themselves in this issue as well and educate consumers because there’s real confusion about what’s acceptable and not acceptable.


“When you look at it, neither the movie and TV industry nor the ISPs are educating their consumers at a high enough level.

“No other product in no other commercial sphere do people just think that the product is there for the taking. People need to be educated that it’s theft.”

Part of the research conducted by Sycamore Research and Marketing on behalf of IPAF looked at the frequency of illegal downloading.

“We found that 22 per cent of respondents specifically used file sharing software to pirate or participate in movie and TV theft,” Grant said.

“Only half of that 22 per cent – 11 per cent – do so once a month or more.

The Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation has launched a new ad campaign

“There’s a perception that everybody does it but we’ve found in our research that everybody doesn’t do it. And this is an interesting element that we’ve now learned because frequency it has two sides to it.

“If you’re not doing a little you think  ‘I’m not a part of it – because I’m just doing it a little bit’.

“People who are doing it at a very high level have this belief that everybody does it, that it’s a runaway train and nobody can stop it but that’s not actually the case.”

The internet has made it easier to share and download illegal content with torrent sites offering access to the latest movies and TV shows.

The Tunnel was released for free on torrents earlier this yearBut one writer and producer, Enzo Tedeschi, had a thought that the vast networks which share content illegally can be used to distribute the film he co-wrote and co-produced – The Tunnel.

The critically acclaimed film was shot in Sydney with its $135,000 budget raised from online donations and distributed for free on torrents.

The Tunnel – released in early 2011 – has been downloaded nearly a million times.

But despite this distribution model, Tedeschi is firmly against film piracy.

“Ripping off the work of others is illegal, no two ways about it,” he said.

“I think a possible step towards a solution is to make it SO easy to get it legitimately, when and how people want it, that it eliminates the need for piracy. Easier said than done.”

IPAF’s Grant says the rules of the real world should also apply to the digital world.

“We need to learn to respect product in the digital environment in the same way as we respect products in the physical environment.

“You hear about Google and Facebook and there is citizenship when it comes to the online digital environment. Respecting movie and television product is part of that whole citizenship.”

Tedeschi says piracy should force the industry to change its distribution strategy.

“Now more than ever it’s important for distributors to experiment a little with what works, because the model they are hanging on to for dear life at the moment will be completely gone not long from now.

“In the case of the torrents they should be considered by filmmakers as part of the solution than the biggest problem.

“It worked for us in terms of getting us noticed and our little film in front of a hell of a lot of people.

A scene from the film The Tunnel

“Unfortunately there is still a lot of conservatism in certain sections of the industry, and until you have the support of those people, it’s going to be very difficult to monetise an endeavour like ours.

“We stand by our strategy and don’t regret it for a second.”

Tedeschi disagreed with the view that the ISPs should take some responsibility for piracy.

“It would be like asking Qantas to police drug smugglers. It’s not really their job. However ISPs need to be co-operative with the agencies who are trying to police it,” he said.