Screen capture showing the BitTorrent site displaying True Blood downloads Image captured: Isohunt
I recall sitting in my Maths class at High School looking at the clock thinking, ‘OMG True Blood just started in the USA’. I proceeded to then finish school and rush home to find a download or an online streamed episode. My actions demonstrate a major problem currently in Australia, which is the country where the most BitTorrent download’s stem from (Turnbull & Bowles 2013). Though from my personal experience I can completely understand why, being in Australia we often receive shows up to a month after they have aired in the USA. In my case, True Blood was aired closer to the air date in the USA, however, it only aired on Foxtel as it is a HBO product. This meant I would have to purchase a subscription to Foxtel or wait for the DVD to be released six months later.
The original downloading of the product is not the only copyright issue. Fans often use plot lines, soundbites or scenes from their favourite show or movie to produce online content such as Youtube mashup’s or slash fiction. Is this harmless fanfiction or is this actually copyright ? The Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) states that works can be re-used if the work is being used for:
- Educational purposes
- Criticism and Review
- Satire and Parody
- Reporting of the News
- Reporting or Study
Currently our Copyright Act is outdated and does not include sections regarding technological work, clearly this act needs updating to meet the demands and needs of our current society that is heavily reliant on technological devices.
However, our two main political parties in this past election were concentrating on improving our communications infrastructure with the idea of the NBN. As far as Rupert Murdoch was concerned the NBN would increase the rate of downloads in Australia. It was speculated that the ‘NBN would kill foxtel’ (LeMay 2013) and that was the main reason that Murdoch’s media campaigned against the Labor Government. It has been stated that Murdoch feared Foxtel would become irrelevant in Australia as citizens would merely download the content that they can usually only view on Foxtel with the increased internet speed. This brings me back to True Blood, which as I stated above unless you have Foxtel you were required to wait for the DVD to be released. This is what Murdoch fears. that shows such as True Blood may be the main reason for Foxtel subscribers and if these shows are easier to download through increased download speeds, Foxtel subscribers may decrease rapidly.
Do you think our copyright act needs updating? Or do you think that Foxtel would become irrelevant with the NBN?
Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) part 4, Copy Right in subject matter other than works, Division 6 .
LeMay, R 2013, ‘ Will the NBN kill Foxtel? It’s unlikely’, The Drum, 7th August, viewed 12th September, <http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-08-07/lemay-foxtel-and-the-nbn-threat/4870648>
Turnbull, s & Bowles, K 2013, ‘When fans go bad’, powerpoint slides, BCM240, University of Wollongong, viewed date 12th September, <https://moodle.uowplatform.edu.au/pluginfile.php/116385/mod_resource/content/1/BCM240%202013%20week%207.pdf>