An application of Fair reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) measures to copyright in Australia.

As has been demonstrated time and again Australians face increased cost of accessing copyrighted content and IP compared to the rest of the world. The key drivers of this are many and excuses abound from companies from the increased cost of staff in this country to the cost to ship physical media from other countries. In a digital age where content is not shipped there is no staff in the country and no need for any local presence as the data can be stored anywhere in the world then transmitted over the internet. In a world where none of these excuses hold up anymore we still pay massive mark-ups on content simply because companies wish to drain as much money from consumers as they can. To do this they place artificial walls in the form of geo-blocking to force us to pay more for less and to extract more profit. Not only do they do this they put in place exclusive content deals with monopoly players like Foxtel with deep pocket who will pay anything then pass on this cost to consumers through their pay TV network.

So what is the solution to this well there are many but the best outcome for Australians and Australian companies is a FRAND access to all content. Under this scenario a company could pay a negotiated amount of money to have access to broadcast a program. The key difference to now is that this access is not exclusive another provide could then pay the same to gain access to the program. The benefit to consumers is massive if a station neglects viewers shifting times and playing re-runs a competitor could then swoop in and steal those customers by providing better access to the show or fewer ads or broadcast in HD. This would provide a competitive environment meaning that companies that provide the best service win and grow.

IPTV streaming rights would be separated from broadcast rights no one company would be allowed to hold both rights to broadcast and stream content. This would provide at least 2 companies competing for viewers providing cheaper outcomes for consumers. All content that has been broadcast MUST be available to stream via an IPTV service if a company does not pick up the content the government will host the content and allow access for a standard fee per view which is then passed to the content owner there will be a time limitation of 1 week after broadcast but it is discretionary and could be extended but the content owner for a fee.

The largest benefit from this is that it would almost eliminate piracy in this country I base this on the past history of 2 industries.

  • The gaming industry

o   In the past the gaming industry was rife with copyright infringement in this country where games were expensive and difficult to obtain. Then along came Valve with Steam a repository of games that were reasonable price and easily accessible. Steam has all but killed Piracy in the games industry.

  • The Music Industry

o   Once again many moons ago people pirated music from the internet then along came iTunes and Spotify. Now nobody pirates music anymore as it is reasonable priced and easy to obtain.

So why wont the movie and TV industry follow suit the reason for this is simple exclusivity Steam hosts many games but I can get them from many other sites if Steam puts up its prices or provides poor service I can go elsewhere. The same is true of music Spotify not treating you nice then go to Rdio or iTunes. This is not the case in the world of television however want to watch Game of Thrones and Foxtel are treating you poorly well tough luck. Want to watch a TV show in Full HD in this country nope you can’t not a single broadcaster in this country broadcasts in Full HD let alone offers 4K TV content for a very good reason why should they if there is no competition for viewers. Game of Thrones is shown in compressed 720p because they can due to exclusivity. The only way to watch TV the way it was intended in Australia on release is to Pirate it and that is not good enough.

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