Jun 27, 2014

Graham Burke — unsafe at any download speed

The priceless examples of copyright industry stupidity keep rolling out as the government prepares for its war on filesharing.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

Recently Crikey discussed the claims of that self-appointed scourge of pirates, Village Roadshow’s elderly chairman Graham Burke, best known for being a self-confessed “tax rorter” and smoker of “funny stuff”. Well since then, Burke  -- one of Attorney-General George Brandis's aides-de-camp in the government's coming war on filesharing -- has been engaged in a kind of one-man berserker attack on Australian ISP iiNet, the company that famously took on and defeated the copyright cartel over efforts to make ISPs responsible for their customers’ filesharing. Yesterday, in responding to iiNet’s Steve Dalby, Burke went over whatever remaining tops he hasn’t yet gone over and claimed, Ralph Nader style:

"iiNet are selling a car which happens to kill people on the roads, so they should be paying towards that. It's the car that's faulty. In this instance it's the fault of the car, not the driver."

That will come as a shock to iiNet and its staff, who presumably thought they were in the carriage service business, not automobiles, and possibly to the many people who now discover they been killed by filesharing. Or maybe Burke meant filesharing of car movies … actually come to think of it, anyone pirating the Fast and Furious movies probably does deserve jail time. Although we didn’t mind Drive, either the Ryan Gosling one or the original one from the '70s, especially the bit where Ryan O'Neal trashes the Merc. ANYWAY. What caught our eye was Burke’s claims, as rendered by the good folk of CNet, that graduated response schemes (i.e. three strikes and you’re cut off the internet) had worked:

"He cited similar initiatives in France and the "gold standard" of Korea, where he said the industry went from 'literally facing extinction' to a 77 percent reduction in piracy and a 1,300 percent increase in legal digital downloads following the introduction of three strikes."

Free Trial

You've hit members-only content.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

7 thoughts on “Graham Burke — unsafe at any download speed

  1. tinman_au

    “iiNet are selling a car which happens to kill people on the roads, so they should be paying towards that. It’s the car that’s faulty. In this instance it’s the fault of the car, not the driver.”

    Going by that…er…logic, Graham Burke and his crew should be held accountable for violent crime after someone goes on a killing spree after watching Dark Knight Rises. Also the idiots that try to recreate “The Fast and the Furious” on public roads after watching the movie.

    He has a lot to answer for really…

  2. Migraine

    Just before Napster and Kazaa destroyed the global music industry, the spokesthing for an astroturf copyright protection lobby group claimed to a Senate hearing that Australian universities were actively facilitating music piracy, and the only cure was to allow copyright holders unfettered access to universities’ computer networks. They would, of course, respect privacy, confidential information &c &c. I saw a Senator snigger in response.

    This kind of OTT claim undermines the few merits of the argument the entertainment industry puts forward. Holding ISPs responsible for the traffic over their wires is as asinine as suing Australia Post for carriage of a naughty book (or a CD of burned tunes, for that matter), or the Department of Transport for a truckload of black market cigarettes.

  3. Yclept

    So why only pick on iiNet, why not Telstra who control so much more?

  4. AR

    BK – “the copyright cartel is, after the IT security industry, the single biggest source of bullshit statistics on the planet” that’s a big call given the other competitors, BigPharma, tobacco, oil, AgBiz ad nauseam – we’re drowning in B/S from flacks, hacks and shysters.

  5. Liamj

    Oh please please please George Brandis, please do introduce your silly regieme. Its certain to increase political militancy and crypto skills, and the old farts who want to go back to the(ir) good old days will discover just how few of them there really are.

  6. Chris Hartwell

    None of what the copyright-troll industry is putting forth deals with the fact that those that know, will still know, and those that don’t, will learn. Certain to be a lot more anonymised traffic on the series of tubes.

  7. peterh_oz

    Maybe they should be funding a Quikflix promotion instead of ranting on. Give people a fair price option and most will pay for the convenience. Just like Netflix in the States.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details