Dootson and Suzor (2015)
|Dootson and Suzor (2015)|
|Title:||The Game of Clones and the Australia Tax: Divergent Views about Copyright Business Models and the Willingness of Australian Consumers to Infringe|
|Author(s):||Paula Dootson, Nicolas Suzor|
|Citation:||Dootson, P. and Suzor, N. (2015) The Game of Clones and the Australia Tax: Divergent Views about Copyright Business Models and the Willingness of Australian Consumers to Infringe. University of New South Wales Law Journal 38.|
|Key Related Studies:|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||The study consists of 29 semi-structured interviews, which examined how consumers justified acceptable, unacceptable, or questionable consumption behaviours. Participant selection was conducted through snowball sampling.|
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:||No|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:|
“This article presents qualitative evidence that substantiates a common intuition: one of the major reasons that Australians seek out illicit downloads of content like Game of Thrones in such numbers is that it is more difficult to access legitimately in Australia. The geographically segmented way in which copyright is exploited at an international level has given rise to a ‘tyranny of digital distance’, where Australians have less access to copyright goods than consumers in other countries. Compared to consumers in the US and the EU, Australians pay more for digital goods, have less choice in distribution channels, are exposed to substantial delays in access, and are sometimes denied access completely. In this article we focus our analysis on premium film and television offerings, like Game of Thrones, and through semi-structured interviews, explore how choices in distribution impact on the willingness of Australian consumers to seek out infringing copies of copyright material. Game of Thrones provides an excellent case study through which to frame this analysis: it is both one of the least legally accessible television offerings and one of the most downloaded through filesharing networks of recent times. Our analysis shows that at the same time as rightsholder groups, particularly in the film and television industries, are lobbying for stronger laws to counter illicit distribution, the business practices of their member organisations are counter-productively increasing incentives for consumers to infringe.”
Main Results of the Study
Inaccessibility of content as a result of geographical constraints is a major motivating factor in willingness to infringe copyright. Australia may particularly suffer from a lack of available content (through delays or otherwise), compounded by high transaction costs for licensing of foreign content and lack of competitive streaming services (compared with e.g. the US).
Programmes such as Game of Thrones, which create a global “cultural buzz” introduce a social experience element which can leave consumers feeling “left out of the global discussion” if they have no legitimate means of participating (e.g. risk of exposure to spoilers if consumers are unable to afford a premium cable package). When rightsholders fail to meet the demand this generates, consumers feel that infringement is morally justifiable.
Respondents to the study also demonstrated a willingness to pay where possible, and would prefer to utilise more morally acceptable tools such as VPNs or proxy servers to circumvent geoblocking. As this circumvention is relatively simple, and more in keeping with typical business transactions, consumers view this as a better alternative to infringement.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
The authors conclude that a market-based response to infringement is preferable to increased enforcement through legislation. As consumers’ perceptions of behaviour change in response to whether a market is considered “fair”, increased sanctions are likely to contribute to an image of unfairness, and therefore such methods are not capable of challenging any normative behaviours. Removal of outdated geoblocking in the global context, and increasing competition, are a more viable means of ensure consumers will perceive the market as fair, and be less likely to infringe.