The internet, it seems, is casually killing culture and feasting on all its bloody remains. Thank goodness for The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft who today announced plans to put an end to this blithe repast.
Honourable land-lubbers at AFACT, which acts on behalf of the film and television industry, are surging ahead in the fight against piracy. The organisation, which boasts an anti-piracy hotline to leave the door ajaARRR (sorry) for anonymous tip-offs, assisted police yesterday in raiding the home of a Sydney supermarket employee alleged to have burnt, circulated and sold copies of The Bourne Ultimatum.
Any reasonable person could only applaud this action. Not only does such mindless profiteering debase the principles of honest trade. It overestimates the performance skills of Matt Damon. That guy, and his Ken Doll hair, makes Ashton Kutcher look like Kenneth BranARRRRRgh (sorry) by contrast.
Hardly appeased by their victory in Riverwood, AFACT is now urging Internet Service Providers to identify and warn users suspected of illegal downloading activity.
So, if, for example, someone in your family has decided they simply can’t wait for the second season of, say, Big Love and must immediately seek the help of bittorrent, watch out. If AFACT has its way, this miscreant could be, to employ the parlance of the Southern Cross Radio Network, named and shamed.
As a ribald uncle of mine is wont to say, there’s a difference between scratching your bum and tearing your a-se to shreds. And, although he is no longer welcome at family events, his dreadful analogy is useful for our purposes here.
The for-profit redistribution of dull blockbusters and Nickelback CDs is one thing. The quiet, convenient theft of telly programs for personal use is quite another.
One cannot sensibly make an argument in favour of private theft. (Even, of course, if one feels morally entitled to, say, download Highway 61 Revisited because, hell, you’ve bought about six copies on various media since you were twenty and you’ve lost all of them.)
Major ISPs are, of course, reluctant to take AFACT’s demands seriously. Obviously, they’d quite like to keep their customers. Nonetheless, organisations like AFACT and Music Industry Piracy Investigations continue to make untenable suggestions.
Rather than fixing their attention on the “criminal” who wishes to enjoy the talents of Matt Damon in private, perhaps these watchdog organisations might think about working to preserve the possibility of future business.
Accustomed to life within an on-demand universe, consumers might be willing to pay but, oftentimes, they are not willing to wait. It took the music industry the better part of a decade to provide the possibility of legal downloads. In the meantime, millions have developed a taste for no-cost sampling.
If providers of TV and movies tend to the same sluggish pattern, they’ll do themselves out of similar profits.