Why pirating movies and TV shows in Australia is easier than doing the right thing


August 2, 2014 2:00 PM

The World's End movie poster

In the news lately there was this item about how the government is contemplating how it can reduce and prevent instances of copyright infringement, most notably when it comes to TV shows and movies.

Australia floats website blocks and ISP liability to stop copyright thieves The Register.

As you might know, Australia is the biggest offender when it comes to doing the torrent thing:

Who's Pirating Game of Thrones, And Why? | TorrentFreak.
What Those Breaking Bad Piracy Statistics Actually Say | Lifehacker Australia.

So i recently conducted a study on why this is so using a very definitive and comprehensive sample size of one: me trying to rent and stream the 2013 movie “The World’s End“, and my only criteria is to be able to quickly rent and watch it when I want to watch it. That is, RIGHT NOW.

In Australia currently, these are the ways that you can watch a movie legally online or on your TV:

  • Free-to-air. Downside: erm, how long do I have to wait after it was released? Next.
  • Subscribe to Foxtel. Downside: pay a monthly bill of at least $74 to get their movie package which gives you access to other channels too granted but you cannot pick and choose which channels – they are bundled together, whether you want them or not. And you can’t rent just one movie. Next.
  • Subscribe to Quickflix. Downside: having to pay $14.95 monthly whether you wanted to watch a movie or not; can’t rent a single movie or pay as you go. Next.
  • Bigpond Movies. This looks more promising – you can rent individual movies without monthly access fees or charges. Bonus if you are a Bigpond customer as the download/streaming will not eat into your data allowance. This goes on the shortlist.
  • iTunes. Also promising – movies can be rented individually. Added to the shortlist.

A comprehensive read:
Australia's Best (Legal) Online Movie Services | Gizmodo Australia.

Now the fun begins. I went onto Bigpond Movies and this movie is not in their catalogue. Son, I’m disappoint. So then I went into the iTunes store and found the movie. The movie is available to be purchased but the “Rent” option was not available for it like it is for other movies. More disappoint.

What is the deal here? I’m sure I’ve read this somewhere before but I couldn’t find something online to back this up so this is purely how I remembered it – movies are released to the cinemas first, then to DVDs and DVD rentals, then to pay-per-view/Foxtel and then to free-to-air TV.

I do not know how online rentals figure into this but I suspect that here in Australia at least, it is after Foxtel has squeezed all revenue potential out of a movie first. So theoretically, online rentals are available before free-to-air but only after Foxtel has aired the movie. For how long, I don’t know.

And just to confirm that this is the case, I searched for another movie that was released around the same time, “This Is The End” and found the same thing – I can buy it but I couldn’t rent it.

Frustrated, I typed in “the world’s end torrent” and BAM – options aplenty. I can neither confirm nor deny that I then proceeded to torrent the shit out of it, but instant gratification was achieved albeit with a short delay of about an hour while it downl … *ahem* I said nothing, you saw nothing, move along now.

Yes I know that I could have possibly rented the movie by walking into an actual video rental place (remember those?) but:

  1. I have to find one near my place
  2. I have to get out of the house
  3. I will have to look around the shelves for it – it ain’t a new release so it would be tucked away somewhere not obvious
  4. FFS, I’m tired already.

So I’m very glad to hear that Malcolm Turnbull agree that the content providers are making it all too hard for people who want to do the right thing in Australia.

Turnbull to Big Content: Let your movies RUN FREE … for a fair price The Register

One last thing: sorry Simon Pegg, Edgar Wright and Nick Frost, I really wanted to give you $5.99 to enjoy your movie.

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