Is Copyright a Bloodright?

tbscreen captureScreen 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Currently our Copyright Act is outdated and does not include sections regarding technological work, clearly this act needs updating to meet the demands and needs of our current society that is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, <>

Turnbull, s & Bowles, K 2013, ‘When fans go bad’, powerpoint slides, BCM240, University of Wollongong, viewed date 12th September, <>


4 thoughts on “Is Copyright a Bloodright?

  1. I’m really surprised that the law is so far behind in terms of dealing with technology and copyright, especially considering how big and popular fan fiction communities have become. As for Murdoch and Foxtel, just from looking at all the friends whose families used to have Foxtel, who now don’t simply because its cheaper to stream online, I definitely think online is becoming a significant competitor. Good post!

  2. I too looked at this issue in respect to Game of Thrones. This show rapidly became the most downloaded show in Australia. This was also due to the time delay and sole subscription needed to Foxtel and the Showcase channel to watch it. I too believe Australia’s copyright laws need to be updated. In addition to this, I think there should be a cheaper alternative to legally view shows such as Game of Thrones and True Blood. ITunes offers this, but many believe it to be too expensive especially when downloading is free. I recently read an article about Foxtel possibly introducing a service similar to America’s Netflix and Hulu called Presto. This may be interesting, but I think it too might fail due to cost (they say $25 a month).
    I think creating laws that attempt to deal with piracy on the Internet is difficult because it falls under the much larger umbrella of control and regulation of the Internet, which many believe interferes with their sense of privacy and anonymity.
    The article about Presto can be read here:

  3. People seem to forget that shows like True Blood show on HBO in America. HBO is a single channel subscription, meaning that not only do you have to have cable television, you have to pay extra just to subscribe to HBO. I believe it has more to do with the Australian culture, which unlike America, is not reliant on Cable Television. In America, it would be rare to find ANY household without cable television, yet it is quite the opposite in Australia. We are a country that expects to get things for free, that is just something that is ingrained in our culture.

    Not that I believe there is anything wrong with that, the industry just needs to find an alternative way to profit from downloads. When you visit a website to download an episode of True Blood, you are usually confronted with numerous advertisements, and although it is easy to ignore, that is the price you pay to watch it for free. Someone somewhere is profiting from those advertisements, yet we are told we are stealing.

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