Piracy and copyright
Each year the cost of copyright piracy to the subscription media industry – both from unauthorised access to STV signals and the illegal downloading of content broadcast on STV – runs into many millions of dollars. The subscription media sector, like other sectors involved in the production and distribution of content, relies on a strong legislative framework to protect the substantial investments made in creative content, and to provide certainty for content producers that they can receive a fair return on this investment.
Unauthorised access to subscription television broadcasts
Unauthorised access or use of STV broadcasts is an offence under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), as is the making, selling, importing, hiring, trade or distribution of an unauthorised decoder, the unauthorised use of a decoder, unauthorised distribution of a subscription broadcast to another premises or making an unauthorised decoder available online. The maximum penalty for such offences is 5 years imprisonment, or substantial fines, or both.
The subscription media industry is working with State and Federal police to prosecute those who are involved in enabling unauthorised access to content.
The jobs of nearly a million Australian workers depend in some way on the creative industries – and the viability of those industries, in turn, depends on robust, well enforced copyright laws. Technological advances in the digital era have enabled significant increases in copyright infringement, posing a significant threat to the viability of content production and distribution.
The creative industries have responded by making content available faster, cheaper and over more platforms. In addition, the subscription media industry has made it simpler to watch content over multiple devices including tablets, and introduced more affordable packages to make its content available to more people.
However, any solution to copyright theft must include addressing demand for illegal content, both by restricting access to sources of illegal content and ensuring significant consequences those who distribute copyright content illegally.