Are our little darlings going to kill our film industry?

The natural order of life is that the younger generation does not understand how hard or different it was for the previous generation. This is not a new phenomenon. When I was young, I thought getting money was as easy as going to the bank: I didn’t understand the need to earn that money, then manage that money to support the necessities of a family, nor how hard it would have been for my parents to save for luxuries. It seemed a given to me that money would always be there when you went to the bank.

Another standard phenomenon of the past is that the youngest generations would not have much power or influence over anything in their lives, let alone entire industries. With the rapid development of the internet, internet speed and more sophisticated computers and devices both available and owned by a growing number of homes, suddenly my children’s generation is a power to be reckoned with. And so far, it doesn’t look like it’s a good thing for the Australian Film industry.

Australia has been considered the worst offender for movie piracy per capita rate than any other country.  The content downloaded indicated a trend of adult piracy.  Recent statistics show that while Australian adults have reduced their voracious habit of illegally downloading, piracy by children from the ages of 12 to 17 has more than doubled. Films like Mad Max: Fury Road has been illegally downloaded 3.5 million times in Australian since its release.

“If we cannot solve the piracy problem there will be no Australian films – zero”

Village Roadshow executive, Graham Burke

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act was passed by the Australian government in 2015 which seeks to ban access to pirate torrent websites (ie. The Pirate Bay). This new legislation gives rights holders the power to block pirate websites through a Federal Judge.

The increase in the use of streaming services like Netflix and Stan have helped curbed this tendency toward piracy, which would suggest that if given an appropriate and easy way of paying for desirable content most people are happy to pay for the service.

Along with the additional anti-piracy legislation, and the increase of legitimate downloading services, there still needs to be an emphasis on education.  Mr Burke said one of the greatest challenges is that many people see piracy as a victimless crime, that piracy may conjur up “images of Johnny Depp…and Robin Hood”.

With statistics quoting 31% of 12-17 aged Australian children are engaging in piracy, we need to reconsider what we model for our children, and what we allow them to do. Even one generation of consumers who take what they want without paying, poses a real danger to the survival of the world-wide film industry, and most especially Australia’s.