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.