AFACT slaps online piracy

By David Knox on November 13, 2011 / Filed Under News 23

The popularity of The Slap has led to the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft shutting down pirate websites that were hosting unauthorised files of the show.

AFACT was alerted to illegal sites after being contacted by distributors for production company Matchbox Pictures.

Producers became aware of the problem when people began posting links to the pirate site on the official Facebook page for The Slap.

The illegal site was called ViewTheSlapOnline but a much bigger torrent site based in The Netherlands, diwana.org, was also shutdown.

Diwana.org, which hosted other Australian content including Packed to the Rafters and Wild Boys, has now published a complaints letter directed at Matchbox Pictures. The letter claims the actions have “caused the destruction of a 40,000 strong vibrant international community that took active pleasure in sharing content that generally was completely unavailable to them.”

Sources from MatchBox Pictures told TV Tonight piracy undermines major investment in drama production and jeopardised future productions.

But the problem may not be over yet, with other pirate sites with The Slap still operating.

The ABC series has been sold to BBC and the Sundance Channel in Europe.

23 Comments »

  1. Kev November 14, 2011 at 9:34 am -

    @steve sydney

    Sites like iview are usually geographically restricted so overseas viewers can’t use them. There are work arounds but they’re not easy if you’re not tech savvy.

  2. Ticky November 14, 2011 at 6:04 am -

    How is the ABC affected by people downloading their shows exactly?

  3. maryanne November 14, 2011 at 4:40 am -

    The reason these sites exist, in my case anyway, is that the blessed IQ sometimes does not record properly, and with Iview mostly only having a 2 week viewing window, these sites are the only places where you can get missed episodes. How about the ABC keep all the episodes on Iview for a much longer viweing window, like 6 months or so, especially for locally made series? And anyway, there are many more sites than those listed in the report where you can get this series if needed.

  4. steve sydney November 14, 2011 at 4:06 am -

    What’s all the fuss about the site being shut down?? Can’t other countries watch the episodes legally with Iview on ABC’s website? Or are they aware of that and don’t watch to be confined to watching it on their computer and would rather download it to a burnt disc to view on their 52″ LCD? Sorry but that sounds like having your cake and eating it too.

    BTW how stupid of those posters to provide pirate links on the show’s official facebook page!! Do they not suspect someone from the show might actually be monitoring it?…

  5. DanR November 14, 2011 at 3:51 am -

    TIme for the entertainment industry to get with the times. The world is now borderless and the quickest way to stamp out piracy is to give people legitimate, legal access to content no matter where they are in the world.

    I’m an Aussie living in New York and was so frustrated that there was no way I could watch The Slap or Paper Giants or Rush or Offspring, etc, etc unless I resorted to ‘stealing’.

    I doubt any of those shows, The Slap excepted, have any hope of ever being bought by US networks so why not make them available via iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, etc etc? There are enough Aussies living abroad that it could be a small but worthwhile additional revenue stream that would support our local entertainment industry.

  6. Steve November 14, 2011 at 3:35 am -

    The reality is that the media industry has always treated online customers as second class citizens. You cannot watch something online because it has not been shown on TV in your country, even if you are prepared to pay for it, and pay a lot more than the advertising revenue they will get if you watched it on TV.

    Why can’t somebody outside of Australia subscribe to an online Australian TV package. US companies put their shows up on iTunes – but if you live outside the US hard luck. The only way left to get them is the free way.

    This industry is it’s own worst enemy, they talk about ‘piracy’ as a global problem, but are too stuck in their ways to provide global solutions. Remember, this is the industry that bought you DVD region coding – a system designed, not to counter piracy, but to stop people from legally buying its own products.

  7. Kevin November 14, 2011 at 3:08 am -

    It’s only a grey area with respect to TV show downloading only, whereas illegal
    downloading of music, books, video games, films and DVDs, isn’t a grey issue at all.

    The former is a grey area, because the northern and southern hemispheres operate on different climate based TV seasons, because Aus viewers usually get treated with arrogant contempt by Aus TV networks who schedule admired shows that may not rate so great, usually when they feel like showing them (not when viewers want to see them), by screwing admired shows over, by sometimes not showing even them, or constantly changing the show’s timeslot, by the show only being screened on Foxtel, which gives fairly poor value for money, by onselling an admired show to Foxtel, so that by the time an Aus free to air network may show it (or if it even does), viewers have had to wait far too long.

  8. Steve November 14, 2011 at 2:19 am -

    When will they learn that actions like this never work? It never stops “illegal” distribution of their product. In most cases it has the opposite effect.

    I always buy what I like on DVD and so do many others. By shutting down sites like that they’ve blocked international audiences out, at least until their show gets a run on US cable at 3am or an obscure satellite station in the UK. Then they’ll still reach a fraction of those they could have if they left it alone.

    The biggest irony is I’m pretty sure Diwana had a rule that stopped people from uploading material that was commercially available. I’d never see anything ripped from a commercial DVD. Only stuff from free-to-air.

  9. Kev November 13, 2011 at 5:37 pm -

    I don’t understand why recording a show for later viewing is OK but downloading a missed episode for the same reason is not.

  10. Stan November 13, 2011 at 5:01 pm -

    I think Someone (11:43am) really sums up the pure selfishness & sense of entitlement that most of you have towards electronic entertainment. What happened to paying for what you use?

    A, using your “logic,” is your local public library lending books & DVDs to millions of people around the world? No, it’s not really the same thing is it?

    Adam Oriti Art, again, just like A, you’re reducing an entire criminal racket down to tiny little actions. IQ boxes & PVRs are a small problem for the industry because the users capacity to access everything is greatly restrained. Watching on Free-To-Air is a proper channel because the TV network has already paid the content creators for their product.

    The Other Adam, can an “affordable alternative” (whatever that means for you & everybody else) really compete with absolutely-free-of-charge? Think again.

    Jason S, does exposure magically manifest itself into dollars for the good people who made The Slap?

    Charlie Kelly, why do you think open access to every book, film & TV show is some kind of human right? Where do we draw the line? Maybe I’ll decide now that everyone in the world should have the right to take international flights whenever they like for free. Why should some parts of the world be the sole domain for a select few?

  11. Andrew November 13, 2011 at 2:09 pm -

    Piracy of the seas has been around for hundreds of years, and will continue to be so for hundreds more. Piracy on the net will be around as long as there is the Internet.

  12. Simon November 13, 2011 at 2:00 pm -

    Ah if only as much time and effort was put into stopping hacking and other nasties that happen online … oh that’s right, there’s no money in that. Pathetic.

  13. Les November 13, 2011 at 1:31 pm -

    Public Libraries pay a copyright fee to be able to lend books and DVD’s. It’s OK for us to download US TV shows but not OK for them to download ours? Without International sales “Neighbours” would have gone years ago. However, it would be a different story if those 40,000 members of Diwana.org had each paid $1 per episode to MatchBox Pictures for a legal download. Did MatchBox try to sell the download right to iTunes or any of the other distribution sites? I didn’t realize that “The Slap” was that popular anyway.

  14. Charlie Kelly November 13, 2011 at 1:06 pm -

    It’s always a complicated grey area.

    I personally think if content is not available and probably won’t be available to someone in traditional methods then there’s no real harm in pirating it.

    Shouldn’t we live in a world where, books, films, tv shows should be open to all? If they can’t in a commercial sense, then why should they be banned?

    I don’t really know how far around the world a lot of Aussie stuff goes, but surely people getting exposed to it, is good for the industry? Not negative.

    I do think it clearly gets wrong when people download a movie that is out, or about to come out. Pirating Video Games is also just plainly wrong, especially when you can download them legally.

  15. pietro November 13, 2011 at 12:52 pm -

    It is freely available through newsgroups.

  16. Jason S November 13, 2011 at 12:32 pm -

    Reading the letter and information on diwana.org was interesting. They claim to have up to 40,000 members on that site. Which is a lot of exposure The Slap is getting in an international market that it no longer is. I would have thought more exposure and getting your product out there would be a good thing rather than a bad thing.

    I’m curious, how does piracy work in regards to ABC, which doesn’t sell ad-space as it has no commericals during programs it airs. I know that Matchbox Pictures were actually the ones following up on this issue rather than the ABC themselves.

    This, like all “take-down” of sites linked to this activity, is a futile action. Took me the time of a google search (in this case, 0.11 seconds) to find a multitude of other sites that have the series online. Surely the powers that be that are fighting this battle are aware of them as well.

  17. Someone November 13, 2011 at 11:43 am -

    What a disgrace. I can assure the ABC that I will no longer be watching this program, at least not on television. And I certainly won’t be buying the DVD, because I wouldn’t want any of my money to find its way into the hands of people who think they have a right to do something like this.

  18. The Other Adam November 13, 2011 at 10:54 am -

    why don’t they provide overseas fans an affordable alternative? time to get with the times.

  19. simmo November 13, 2011 at 9:57 am -

    me thinks they may have bitten off more than they can chew with this one.. seriously, going after torrent sites??

  20. Nik C November 13, 2011 at 9:27 am -

    I think more needs to be done to stop tv, film and music pirracy. I oay for mine, because it ultimately helps the local artists/actors and our industry!

  21. GuanoLad November 13, 2011 at 9:06 am -

    On the one hand, I can see why content owners are upset about piracy. On the other hand:

    I think ratings collation is wildly inaccurate, and doesn’t give the true picture. I think people from overseas who never normally get the chance to see or buy Australian content are irrelevant anyway. And I think DVD sales is real actual tangible money that are suspiciously not taken into account when they look at their profits, money that ten years ago was not coming in at all, and more than makes up for any shortfall via advertising revenue (which I also don’t believe is down anyway, though they try to pretend it is).

    My evidence for this is non-existent. It’s just my suspicions.

  22. Adam Oriti Art November 13, 2011 at 8:57 am -

    Ok, well how abot they go into all our IQ boxes and PVAs and delete every episode as well.

    It was shown on Free to air it was not sold. So I cant see how that is copyright.

    .

  23. A. November 13, 2011 at 8:47 am -

    This is the same logic that would think public libraries are pirates for allowing people to read books for free. Why not crack down on such sites after the DVD/Blu-Ray is available although even they might be used to get people interested in buying them especially in countries that have access to technology but not a chance to see it otherwise. But I guess they just don’t want to get people to buy it through trying it before you buy. And by the way if people can’t see it then it’s a case of out of mind out of sight so they might not bother.

    It’s rare for me to get something sight unseen. I can only think of films (on DVD ) and Firefly is the only TV Series I can think of. Although I might of got a series that had started on Australian TV but I couldn’t see it all so saw some episodes on DVD for the first time eg. Smallville. Actually I before that I saw Highlander on video from video hire shops. Plus some of it on TV and then DVD. But that’s due to Australian television not bothering showing the series and stupidly putting it against Star Trek (TNG I think ) so killing it for me. And then it died ratings wise so they stopped showing it. Ironically it was internet sites that got me to read that it improved (in the middle seasons ) and this was in the nineties when there was just text and pictures took ages to see. The point being I wouldn’t of got it on DVD if I hadn’t seen some of it. So they wouldn’t of made money from that.

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