Australian Radio Program On 'Piracy' What 60 Minutes Should Have Done

from the you-mean-actually-have-facts? dept

On Monday, we wrote about that that ridiculous attempt by 60 Minutes to do a story about movie piracy that was basically one long press release for the MPAA's position. Facts weren't checked, and the reporter, Leslie Stahl, didn't bother to push back on a single claim made by any of the (all industry insider) guests. However, Boing Boing points us to a "radio documentary" on piracy that was done on Australian radio the very same day as the 60 Minutes episode aired. You may notice a major difference in that the Australian radio folks actually looked at the facts, invited on people who could refute industry claims, and actually pushed back on claims by the industry:
Adrianne Pecotic (from anti-piracy group AFACT): The fact that there is a level of illegitimate consumption of film and television is something that detracts from the revenue that could go back into the industry and could go back into supporting local video stores, local cinemas and online distribution. Theft is not justified because someone is being successful, and that's a really important point in this debate.

Oscar McLaren (radio host): But it does seem strange that I mean, we're told in quite apocalyptic terms often that the video industry and the film industry is really starting to hurt. I don't imagine many people would actually be aware that the revenues are in fact going up quite steadily and have been for the past decade or so.

Adrianne Pecotic: I think the important thing about the losses that are being suffered by the film industry through piracy, is that individual investors in individual films rely on that investment in that particular film, for that film maker, or that investor as their entire revenue. If you're looking at the analysis across the board of the whole industry and whether it is going up or whether more people are consuming films or less people are consuming films, you're not asking the question of whether a particular film has had the opportunity to recoup its proper revenue.

Oscar McLaren: For the record, box office sales were also at all-time high levels last year, reaching nearly $1-billion.
The program also pushed back against the repeated claim that a download is no different than shoplifting:
Oscar McLaren: But many lawyers in the debate argue that stealing a physical object is very different to breaching intellectual property laws....

Jessica Litman: The difference between a song and a cookie is if I eat a cookie, then you can't have it because I've eaten it, it's gone. But if I listen to a song, you can listen to a song, your friend can listen to a song, anyone can listen to a song, and because intellectual property is capable of being enjoyed by many people at the same time, it's subject to somewhat different rules than cookies. Or houses, or other kinds of property.
The report goes in-depth in other areas as well, including a discussion on fair use/fair dealing, the history of copyright (and how it's often been abused in the name of artists, when it really had nothing to do with them) and the importance of mashup/remix culture. It's the sort of report that a program like 60 Minutes could have -- and should have -- done, but did not. Kudos to ABC radio down in Australia.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 6:12am

    Gotta Say

    I gotta say, this makes me want to listen to the news from ABC Radio there. Although I would guess a lot of it would be local and probably have no impact on me, reporting like this helps build trust when they don't just accept every single thing they are told.
    Even NPR (who is about as much news radio as I ever listen to) sometimes (or is it most of the time?) doesn't ask meaningful questions and push back when being told stuff from an industry whose best interest it is in to lie.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 6:14am

    The MPAA better be careful. People like super-rich executives who whine while cashing their multi-million dollar bonuses even less than they like super-rich celebrities who whine.

    I like where she decides to discuss a theoretical movie, rather than look at actual numbers. I wish the host had countered by asking for a specific movie that was heavily pirated and not profitable. And then he could have followed by noting that the most profitable movies were the most pirated.

    Does anyone have a link to those sort of numbers? Donwloads vs revenue vs profit?

     

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  3.  
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    Hulser (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 7:15am

    Re:

    And then he could have followed by noting that the most profitable movies were the most pirated.

    This is a really good point. If their concern is not really on the industry as a whole, but on particular movies that are impacted by piracy, then surely she would have an example or two ready. "Wait, what? You're now saying that it's individual movies that are in trouble, but you can't quote a single example of a movie that has not been profitable because of piracy? Hmmm."

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 8:28am

    Is it what the program should have been, or just the pushing the other side as hard as the RIAA does here?

     

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  5.  
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    Comboman (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 9:24am

    ABC is a public broadcaster

    Unlike ABC in the US, the Austrialian ABC is a public broadcaster (like the BBC in Britain or PBS in America). As such, they are less under the control of the copyright lobby and the chances of seeing a fair-and-balanced report on copyright is much more likely than on US ABC (owned by Disney), NBC (owned by GE/Universal) or CBS (owned by Paramount/Viacom).

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous1, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 9:58am

    @Comboman: Sad but true, that is exactly the case. It isn't some sort of conspiracy, it is the way of the world. People
    in power using corporate influence through the media, to shape public opinion and culture. I have perfect example from a news show I was watching last night.The channel is RT (Russian Television). They were discussing the Hauge trial of a former figure deeply involved in the Yugoslavia conflict of the 1990s. He is accused of war crimes. Yet the channel choose a very liberal/eastern apologist for comment on the trial. Even though the facts show otherwise, he made it sound like this trial was somehow unfair. The point is, if that was all I had access to as a citizen of Russia, I might believe it. Even that small exposure got me thinking about it. The truth is discovered from different perspectives. It is ufortunate, but the US system of a democratic republic has been deeply compromised by corporate interests.

     

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  7.  
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    bcosta (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 10:17am

    "Adrianne Pecotic: I think the important thing about the losses that are being suffered by the film industry through piracy, is that individual investors in individual films rely on that investment in that particular film, for that film maker, or that investor as their entire revenue. If you're looking at the analysis across the board of the whole industry and whether it is going up or whether more people are consuming films or less people are consuming films, you're not asking the question of whether a particular film has had the opportunity to recoup its proper revenue."

    That worry seems like one that should have always been present, long before internet "piracy" came about. Investors worrying whether their investments will generate money for them. I don't really see how "piracy" changes this. Also, as stated above, where are these movies that were hurt by "piracy"? I seem to remember that The Dark Knight was the most pirated movie of 2008 and also far and away the most financially successful at the box office.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 1:04pm

    A really nice piece. He made a good job of at least letting the other side's argument come through while also challenging their ideas. I wish more of the interview was included in the talk or that he pushed the speakers to answer some of the questions but overall it was a great listen.

     

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  9.  
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    Paul (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 1:14pm

    Re:

    No.... Pushing the other side as hard as the RIAA does here would mean nobody from the RIAA and MPAA would have been on the program....

    Both sides in the same program is what we should have gotten from 60 minutes.

    Next question?

     

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  10.  
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    Paul (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 1:14pm

    Re:

    No.... Pushing the other side as hard as the RIAA does here would mean nobody from the RIAA and MPAA would have been on the program....

    Both sides in the same program is what we should have gotten from 60 minutes.

    Next question?

     

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  11.  
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    Josh, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 2:10pm

    It's amazing how the industry completely misses the mark on where the entertainment dollar is going. It used to be that there would be a line at the video store front counter waiting for the newest movie to get returned. Now in my neighborhood Hollywood and Blockbuster cannot close video stores fast enough. We have Red Box but my grocery store and all of the independent video stores are no longer renting. Were did all these customers go? I know there are even more people living in my neighborhood?

    Furthermore the baby boomer's the largest segment of the population didn't just stop buying music because they can download it for free. Heck my dad is super proud that he figured out how to send a text message to me last week.

    The simple fact is we have way more competition for our entertainment dollar and ways to entertain ourselves. My local newspaper isn't struggling because there are less people or my local dry cleaners decided to do only online advertising. With the Internet, 300 tv channels, 100 satellite radio channels, 600 new movies a year, 200 new video games a year and piles and piles of our favorite dvd's, cd's and video games that we have bought over the years to turn to. Now hundreds of channells and forms of entertainment all exist and compete to make money not the piles of money movie, tv or newspapers got used to when there was less choices but nerveless many more forms of entertainment are availsble all taking a slice out of my entertainment dollar.

     

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  12.  
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    keng52 (profile), Nov 4th, 2009 @ 2:35pm

    Re: Re:

    Leslie Stahl may have some knowldge of journalistic integrity, but she doesn't know how to practice it.

     

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  13.  
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    Mr Big Content, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 3:54pm

    Hopelessly One-Sided

    This is what happens when you let the anti-copyright attack dogs loose in a free-for-all against the hopelessly-outnumbered guardians of Big Content—it just ends up completely destroying any hope for arguing the importance of copyright. Don’t they realize how important it is to maintain and strengthen the sanctity of Intellectual Property?

    But then, what else do you expect from a liberal propaganda outlet run by a socialist government?

     

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  14.  
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    DTS, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 4:20pm

    More industry hypocrisy. They can talk all they like about how people infringe on their supposed copyright, then do an about turn and claim a piece of money they're damn insistent is there, floating behind the supposed veil of non-commercial usage. If it's so wrong for end users to create virtual damage on your industry's profits, why is it that you've no qualms about claiming virtual money behind purposes that you've never cashed in on or had a direct hand in creating the movement?

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 4:51pm

    Re: Hopelessly One-Sided

    Doesn't Australia still have a Monarchy?

     

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  16.  
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    Nick Coghlan, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 7:18pm

    Re: Re: Hopelessly One-Sided

    The 'socialist' crack is aimed at the Labour government currently in power, rather than a description of our system of government.

    In fact, Labour are actually fairly centrist - at the moment, they have slightly more control over their loony left faction than the Opposition have over their hard right faction, and, in Australia, the major party closest to the centre is typically the one that wins elections (because there is a fairly large chunk of the voter base that isn't committed to either party, and compulsory voting means they actually bother to front up on voting day).

    The ABC is usually fairly even-handed in its reporting, but it does tend to lean slightly to the left. While this provides a bit of balance relative to the more right-wing mainstream media, it does open them up to ad hominem attacks such as those made by the grandparent poster.

     

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  17.  
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    chronoss, Nov 4th, 2009 @ 9:39pm

    Media is all right wing

    start showing me left media in north America excluding Mexico and ill jump up and down .
    It ain't there why? cause big business went in and bought up all the mom and pop papers and media outlets, there isn't any NON corporate ( right wing ) controlled media PERIOD. I don't bother with it except to pipe off my spills on sanity and truth and enlightenment. TO be enlightened you must have the capacity for compassion and forgiveness for your fellow man, neither which the extreme left or right has.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 9:50am

    Re: Re: Re:

    leslie stahl is a skank-ass bitch.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 9:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Hopelessly One-Sided

    What the fuck? Compulsory voting? You are loony down there.

     

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  20.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Nov 5th, 2009 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re:

    Not that I agree, but I think their reasoning is "If movie X made us $Y, it would have made $Y+$Z without filthy pirates!

    It's a fantastic mix of greed and ignorance.

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous1, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 10:36am

    by chronoss

    there isn't any NON corporate ( right wing ) controlled media PERIOD

    So a corporation by defintion can't be liberal? All the liberals are so anti-corporation that they have all quit
    their jobs? I have problems with the way the current corporate structure functions in America, but please....LOL
    Is that sarcasm or are you just the most ignorant fool on the face of the planet? Your choice....


    Oh wait. Better. You troll for a living?

     

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  22.  
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    painter, Nov 5th, 2009 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Hopelessly One-Sided

    The australian labour Party is, (And has always been) in reality a 'Deakinite' party after the first important Australian prime miminister , essentialy a left leaning liberal/conservative party, and the opposition party is simply a more conservative, liberal/conservative party

     

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