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Here is why the Government’s site blocking scheme won’t work

Information verified correct on October 22nd, 2016

67% of the most pirated movies this month aren't available legally in Australia

June 2015: The analysis

Analysis conducted by finder.com.au concluded that rights holders are still holding back content from Australian consumers to rent or purchase legally.

Of the 18 movies which appeared this month in TorrentFreak's "Top 10 most pirated movies of the week”, only 6 movies were available to consumers to download legally within Australia at the end of the month.

With no way for consumers to purchase these movies legally, it's no wonder why Australia's piracy rates are so high.

Movie TitleWeeks in Top 10On Aussie
iTunes AustraliaGoogle Play AustraliaEzyFlix
San Andreas Quake4nononono
Kingsman: The Secret Service4yes$18.99$17.99$19.99
Furious 74nononono
Unfinished Business3nononono
Run All Night3nononono
Jurassic World2nononono
Get Hard2nononono
Avengers: Age of Ultron2nononono
Woman in Gold1nononono
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water1yes$19.99$19.99$19.99
The Gunman1nononono
Pitch Perfect 21nononono
Jupiter Ascending1yes$17.99$17.99$19.99
Ex Machina1nononono

Site-blocking scheme, destined to fail

Earlier this week, the Australian Senate passed a controversial piece of legislation that will allow content rights holders to block sites which contain pirated content or helps facilitate online piracy.  The argument that rights holders have put up is, if we block it - Australians can't pirate it.

But solving the problem of piracy in Australia cannot be done by blocking sites - it simply won't work.  We often hear the counter argument that if the content is available at an affordable price, Australians are willing to pay.  This is evident in the rapid uptake of streaming services like Netflix, Presto and Stan in Australia where consumers are paying to watch content legally.

While it's true that online streaming services like NetflixPresto and Stan are growing rapidly, you're unlikely to find the latest hollywood blockbusters releases in their offerings.  For those titles, online rental and digital download services like iTunes, Google Play Movies and EzyFlix will be your best bet - usually charging around $20 for a digital copy of the movie.

But even with the site-blocking legislation now through the Parliament, Australians will likely still be able to access pirated content.  Based on experience overseas in the UK, once a site such as The Pirate Bay is blocked, several new sites will immediately appear that mirrors the content of the blocked sites.

While pirates can move quickly to restore access to blocked websites, ISPs and the courts would have to go through lengthy processes (potentially taking weeks or months) to approve new website blocks.  The process will become a constant game of whack-a-mole between the content providers and pirates, and the pirates will always win.

Presto wins the race for streaming 2014's most pirated movies

Subscription streaming services like Netflix, Presto and Stan continually update and expand their movie offerings, some of these include last year’s blockbusters and most pirated movies.  finder.com.au has found that of the movies that made it in TorrentFreak's "Top 10 most pirated movies of the week” in 2014, Presto had 42 titles available compared to Netflix Australia's 26 movies and Stan's 9 movies.  Presto even beats out Netflix in the US who only has 39 of the most pirated movies of 2014 in its library.

Movie TitleNumber of weeks in Top 10Presto Internet TVnetflix logo
netflix logo
United States
Captain America: The Winter Soldier17yesnoyesno
The Wolf Of Wall Street12noyesnoyes
22 Jump Street10yesnonono
12 Years a Slave9nonoyesno
300: Rise of an Empire9yesnonono
Guardians Of The Galaxy9yesnonono
Ride Along9nonoyesno
A Million Ways to Die in the West7nonoyesno
How To Train Your Dragon 27noyesnono
Transformers: Age of Extinction7noyesyesno
Lone Survivor6yesnoyesno
Need For Speed6yesnoyesno
The Amazing Spider-Man 26nonoyesno
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug6yesnonoyes
Thor: The Dark World6yesnoyesno
3 Days To kill5noyesnoyes
47 Ronin5nonoyesno
That Awkward Moment4nonoyesno
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire4noyesnono
Anchorman 23noyesyesno
Bad Country3nonoyesno
Captain Phillips3nonoyesno
Escape Plan3nonoyesno
Good People3noyesnono
I Frankenstein3noyesyesno
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit3noyesyesno
Sex Tape3nonoyesno
The Machine3noyesnono
The Nut Job3noyesnono
The Pirate Fairy3yesyesnono
Vampire Academy3nonoyesno
Brick Mansions2noyesnoyes
Dallas Buyer's Club2yesnoyesyes
Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa2noyesyesno
Last Vegas2nonoyesno
Million Dollar Arm2yesnonono
Saving Mr. Banks2yesnoyesno
Step Up All In2nonoyesno
The Prince2noyesnono
13 Sins1noyesnono
About Last Night1nonoyesno
About Time1nonoyesno
After The Dark1yesyesnono
Bad Words1nonoyesno
Delivery Man1yesnoyesno
Drive Hard1noyesnoyes
Earth to Echo1noyesnono
Grudge Match1yesnonono
Heaven Is For Real1nonoyesno
Knights of Badassdom1yesyesyesno
Left Behind1noyesnono
Muppets Most Wanted1yesnoyesno
Planes: Fire & Rescue1yesnonono
Sleeping Beauty1noyesnono
Stonehearst Asylum1noyesnono
The Art Of The Steal1noyesnono
The Bag Man1noyesnono
The Boxtrolls1noyesnono
The Interview1noyesnono
The November Man1noyesnono

So, if you're the kind of person who doesn't mind watching movies a year after the release date, you might be able to make-do by purchasing a streaming subscription from providers like Netflix, Presto and Stan.  Realistically, however, content providers are still slow to release their movies online for legal purchase and download.  Until that is fixed, regardless of how much legislative protection the Government puts in, pirating will only continue to rise.

Want all the TV shows and movies? You can get a free trial with each of the streaming internet tv providers below:

Kenneth Tsang

Kenneth is the publisher for Broadband and Internet TV at finder.com.au. He's currently studying Geospatial Engineering at UNSW. You could say he's a bit of an NBN geek.

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