How the Dallas Buyers Club case will affect you

8 Apr 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Dallas Buyers Club downloads: M1 passed customer details to law firm on court order.

The Singapore telco says it was acting on an order from the High Court, which has also been received by StarHub. Overheard a woman in the lift at work this morning saying she was worried she might be fined over pirating Dallas Buyers Club and I thought: sucked in!About 4700 Australians who illegally downloaded on the internet over a one-month period in 2014 are likely to be sent letters demanding monetary compensation from the maker of the film. A Federal Court judge yesterday ordered several Australian internet service providers, including iiNet, to hand over the identities of thousands of account holders whose internet connections were allegedly used to share the Hollywood film.

Singtel’s court order came later than the other two major providers M1 and Starhub because the company had engaged external lawyers to defend its right to protect subscribers’ personal data for confidentiality reasons, she explained. In the US, where this type of ruling has also happened, legal action was threatened against account holders, claiming they were liable for damages of up to $US150,000 in court unless settlement fees of up to $US7000 were paid. Society’s sense of what’s acceptable in terms of fulfilling our entertainment desires has shifted so far that thieving has dropped of the ethical radar all together, and some barely comment when they hear their friends, or even their own children, are downloading illegally. M1 was the first to comply with the court order in January to release the names, IC numbers and addresses of subscribers linked to the IP addresses identified. Of course one might experience a small twitch of conscience – a little pang of school kid guilt with a look left and right to see if anyone is watching – but then it’s a shrug of the shoulders.

So it’s not always about availability and access, it’s simply about people wanting something for nothing.” Ms Flekser said with every film that’s pirated, potential future investors are scared away, draining the industry’s lifeblood. “(And) for every film that doesn’t get made that’s not just creative juice being lost – those are real jobs being lost,” she said. The fundamental purpose of copyright is to ensure people who take on the enormous financial risk of creation are appropriately rewarded monetarily, she said.

Ms Flekser, who’s worked in the Australian film and television industry for more than 30 years, insists that principle didn’t change with the advent of the internet. She said while many people will continue to torrent, the shift to a series of warning letters, the threat of consequences for stealing content and blocking pirate websites is making it harder. “This will hopefully signal to content thieves and the wider community that this behaviour is not on,” she said. I’m not here to defend Foxtel either, but I understand they’re adjusting their business models as they face stiff competition from some new kids on the block – so it seems to me they are certainly moving to meet the market.

However, other punters felt “stealing” the film was indefensible, and had serious ramifications for the industry. “I stand by the decision for #DallasBuyersClub to seek compensation. In other words, their desire for non-stop free entertainment means that they punish and deny the very talented people who have spent their lifetimes perfecting and creating their art and making that product. It’s not just the actors or directors, it’s the costume-makers, the set-builders, the electricians – you’ve seen how many people are listed in the credits right? One small educational publisher I know of, David Butler of the Noi Group, has lost millions because a book he co-wrote about chronic pain, Explain Pain, has been pirated 100,000 times at least.

This publisher puts his profits into medical research and creating new products that help suffering people – but his losses have caused him to downsize and question whether to leave his business. Consider this: your daughter or son who is happily downloading in the quiet of their cave right now might one day want to be a film director, author or musician – and maybe they won’t be able to make a living from it because someone who really loves their work doesn’t have the decency to pay for it and the industry has ceased to exist. Great quality, expensive television with compelling story-telling, amazing acting, extraordinary digital effects – a journey to another world – escape.

If you are already a Respector, then you’ll want to know about the Digital Content Guide (digitalcontentguide.com.au) which helps Australians find legal content online. Instead of sitting around thieving the results of other people’s creativity – which incidentally doesn’t cost the consumer that much in the first place – why not get out there and try and create something yourself.

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