The IP Awareness Foundation, the Australian film and television industries’ peak body for the promotion of copyright, creative rights, piracy research and education, has rebranded as Creative Content Australia, signalling a greater focus on educating the public on the evils of piracy.
The organisation has expanded its membership by recruiting three screen industry heavy-hitters. Village Roadshow Ltd. co-executive chairman/co-CEO Graham Burke has been appointed chairman and Damian Keogh, CEO of the Hoyts Group owned by China’s Wanda, and Jo Bladen, general manager, studios, the Walt Disney DIS -0.16% Company Australia & New Zealand, have joined the board.
Burke told Forbes, “The new name Creative Content Australia is appropriate because creativity and innovation are the essence of Australia and without copyright protection there will be none. Its principal role is to enlighten and educate people. Some people have not considered that piracy is just plain wrong but when they understand it is not a victimless crime and other people will lose their jobs, they stop.
“Additionally these people are not aware they are part of a criminal underbelly with sites that carry advertising for gambling with no age limit, party drugs, hard core pornography and prostitution, as well as exposing themselves to nasty viruses.”
Research commissioned by CCA’s predecessor IPAF last year showed 25% of Australians aged 18-64 were illegally accessing content, down from 29% the prior year. Depressingly, while the rate of persistent downloading or streaming dropped from 13% to 10%, among that hardcore category 40% said they were pirating more than ever. IPAF has orchestrated a number of anti-piracy campaigns on limited budgets. Now the rebranded organisation is planning a far more comprehensive campaign, probably due to start mid-year.
Its executive director Lori Flekser said, “We are working out who to target: vulnerable people who are dipping in and out of piracy, those who are on the edge, or people who can’t resist the urge to get something for nothing. We won’t target persistent pirates because only punishment or the threat of punishment will rein them in. This will be our most far reaching campaign. Graham has garnered enormous industry support to ensure the campaign plays out on the widest possible level.”
Another focus for the organisation is working with universities and teacher training colleges to help teachers educate students on the downside of piracy. “A lot of teachers have told us they don’t know enough about copyright to teach it in the classroom,” Flekser said. “Also there is a lot of confusion about whether some web sites are legal or illegal.”
VRL is leading a coalition of the U.S. studios which in February applied to the Federal Court for an order to take down the website Solarmovie.ph, which offers free streaming of thousands of films and TV shows. That was the first court action in Australia since the government passed legislation last September, enabling content owners to apply for orders to require internet service providers (ISPs) to disable piracy sites. It followed a similar order granted by the Singapore High Court, which found the site is ‘flagrantly infringing’ intellectual property.
Solarmovie.ph offers more than 50,000 movies including Zootopia, Deadpool, Gods of Egypt, London Has Fallen, Creed, Dirty Grandpa, How To Be Single, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Fast & Furious 7 and Avengers: Age Of Ultron, and 5,793 TV shows. Among the TV titles are The X Files, Billions, Better Call Saul, The Walking Dead and The Flash.
Subsequently Australian pay TV giant Foxtel, co-owned by News Corp NWSA +1.56%. and telco Telstra , asked the Court to order ISPs to take down four overseas websites. Foxtel claimed the sites The Pirate Bay, torrentz.eu, isohunt.so and torrent hound.com are screening three Australian shows it commissioned: dramas Wentworth and A Place to Call Home and the sketch comedy series Open Slather. The Court is yet to rule on either case.
CCA is supported by the Motion Picture Association, Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association, Australian Screen Association, Foxtel, Motion Picture Distributors Association of Australia, National Association of Cinema Operators, Australian Directors Guild, Australian Independent Distributors Association, Australian Writers’ Guild, Deluxe, Independent Cinemas Association of Australia, Screen Producers Australia and Screenrights.