Hard News Reflection

My hard news story is about illegal movie downloading focusing on what’s been having in recent years. I chose the topic because I have a passion for films and against illegal downloading. It’s an important issue as it affects jobs in Film and TV and how we (Australians) get our content as licensees who buy content to distribute but can’t because it’s going to service a small audience and have to work out how many people are watching it before they purchase.

I managed to interview Lori Fleker, Creative Content Australia Executive Director because her organisation is passionate about privacy. After my interview, it was clear my angle was privacy is ruining the entertainment industry.

My only regret with the story was I didn’t get to interview Graham Burke. I tried to get in contact, and all I got was a press release with a five-step plan for privacy which I used some quotes.

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To Download or Not, That is the Question

By Belinda Palmada

Australia’s largest film producer, Village Roadshow will sue anyone who downloads or streams a movie from an illegal pirate site in November this year.

Prosecuting users has worked well in some European countries such as Germany which has a low rate of piracy.

“As Village Roadshow, we are planning to pursue our legal rights to protect our copyright by suing repeat infringers – not for a King’s ransom, but akin to the penalty for parking a car in a loading zone,” Graham Burke, Co-Executive Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer of Village Roadshow Limited, said in a speech at the Australian International Movie Convention.

“If the price of an act of thievery is set at say, $300, we believe most people will think twice.

“However, the more important role of the legal action is to be part of the process of educating people that piracy is indeed wrong and is theft.”

The movie company indicated it will not sue people who are elderly or who have done it by mistake or who are ill. They will target those who are frequent users of private content.

Australians have taken to piracy more than anywhere else in the world surpassing the USA. Australia accounted for 12.5 per cent of the torrents of the Season 6 premiere episode of Game of Thrones and was the world’s worst offender. The USA, with a population of 300 million came in at third with 8.5 per cent.

In August this year, the Federal Court of Australia made rulings to block access to 57 international websites that allow users to download pirated TV shows and movies.

Telco companies Telstra, Optus, Vocus and TPG, were ordered to take reasonable steps, to stop their customers accessing the websites, which include piratebay.to, watchfree.to, torrentproject.se, Yes Movies, Vumoo and Los Movies.

Illegal downloading is an issue that has been plaguing the entertainment industry resulting in a loss of revenue on content distribution.

A recent study found that $1.37 billion in revenue was lost to the Australian economy as a whole and 6,100 jobs were lost as a result of movie theft alone.

Though piracy has declined in recent years with streaming services such as Netflix, Presto and Stan making content legally available, one out of four people worldwide is not paying for their entertainment.

The primary reason for Australians of all ages pirating movies and TV shows is that it is free.

“People think it’s not physical, but it does matter,” Lori Fleker, Creative Content Australia Executive Director, said.

“They make excuses like I wouldn’t have paid for it anyway, but they had the benefit of watching it and the same as watching it is eating an apple so if you’ve already eaten the apple or watch the film, you’ve consumed its value.

“You haven’t paid for it; you reduce the value to zero.

“Licensees are less than likely to buy content for Australia because it’s going to service a small audience and work out how many people are watching it before they purchase.”

Ms Flekser said suing people would not save the entertainment industry, but it would help.

Potential fines will lessen the number of those who download and will undoubtedly bring back investors into the industry, she said.

Australia is one of the worst offending countries for online piracy, with 1.24 billion visits to illegal pirate sites.

News Headlines and Lead Sentences

Missing Australian Boy Confirmed Dead Following Barcelona Attack

The Australian government confirmed seven year old missing boy Julian Cadman was killed in last week’s terror attack in Barcelona.

The young boy is now the 14th victim of the terrorist attack.

Legendary Entertainer Jerry Lewis Passes Away

Comedian and actor Jerry Lewis has died on Sunday night from natural causes at age 91 in his Las Vegas home.

Queen Elizabeth Will Not Step Aside For Prince Charles

Queen Elizabeth has dismissed claims she will abdicate the throne for Prince Charles.

At age 95, Elizabeth is the world’s longest -reigning living monarch and said she remains as committed as ever to her duty.

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten Insists He’s Not British

The dual citizenship debacle continues as Opposition Leader Bill Shorten maintains he’s not a British citizen and refuses to provide paperwork to support his claims.

Mr Shorten, whose father was born in England said he renounced his British citizenship years ago.

YAY OR NAY ON GAY MARRIAGE

By Belinda Palmada

Australia will hold a voluntary postal vote on whether to legalise same-sex marriage before the end of the year.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced on Tuesday, the government’s plans the public vote before if the plebiscite is unable to secure support in parliament.

The PM said he’ll be voting in favour of marriage equality and expects the public’s support.

“I have other calls on my time as prime minister, but I will certainly support a ‘yes’ vote,” Turnbull told reporters.

The vote is expected to cost taxpayers $122 million.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten rejected the plebiscite as “a colossal waste of money and time.”

“Yet again the hopes of people who want to be able to marry the person they love have been dashed by a weak prime minister and the right wing of the Liberal Party,” Shorten said.

The PM said the postal vote was a way for the government to keep its election promise to Australians to allow a public vote on the issue.

“Strong leaders carry out their promises, weak leaders break them,” Turnbull told reporters.

The postal vote is expected to happen on 7 November.

Water-Misuse in Murray-Darling Basin

By Belinda Palmada

Monday night’s episode of Four Corners made serious allegations about mismanagement of the federal government’s Murray Darling Basin Plan.

The ABC program accuses some farmers in the Barwon-Darling valley had taken more water from the river than they were entitled to.

Stretching from Queensland to South Australia, billions of dollars in tax payers’ money has been poured into rescuing the rivers and streams of the Murray-Darling Basin to save it from environmental collapse.

“The water was purchased with Australian taxpayers’ money to go to the environment.” Said Sue Higginson, CEO of Environmental Defenders Offices of Australia

The investigation show also highlighted that meters had been tampered with, masking the amount of water pumped into some farm dams in the region.

Water Minister Barnaby Joyce says allegations of “water theft” are a serious concern, but the Commonwealth will not step in to investigate.

“That is a public interest matter that is a public interest consideration.” Said Ms Higginson

The Murray-Darling Basin Plan was signed back in 2012 by then-prime minister Julia Gillard when the Commonwealth reached an accord with each of the Basin states: Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the State Government remained committed to the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

“We support the Murray-Darling Basin plan. That’s something we supported strongly at the time and the Minister for Primary Industries says he will investigate those issues that were raised.”