Aussies Should Have Access To Online Content Wherever, Whenever: Productivity Commission

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A new report from the Productivity Commission claims Aussie audiences should have access to TV shows and movies online when they want, and from wherever they want.

The report makes reference to the message which most of us would be familiar with, that pops up on YouTube and the like saying, “This isn’t available in your region”.

In its final report on the nation’s intellectual property system, the commission said the Federal Government has an obligation to intervene and should not deem consumers who have found ways of getting around the practice of blocking overseas content as having breached Australia’s copyright system.

“The use of ‘geoblocking’ technology is pervasive, and frequently results in Australian consumers being offered a lower level of digital service at a higher price than in overseas markets,” the report said.

“Studies show Australian consumers systematically pay higher prices for professional software, music, games and ebooks than consumers in comparable overseas markets.

“While some digital-savvy consumers are able to avoid these costs, most pay inflated prices for lower-standard services and some will ultimately infringe.”

A number of Australian media outlets have made submissions to the commission that argue for the status quo to remain, including the ABC, which stated it relied on geographic limitations to “acquire material and to sell its own content throughout the world”.

Free TV Australia was also in the ‘against’ party when it comes to the report, arguing any changes would impact the ability for content providers in Australia to reinvest in a local industry.

Per the ABC, Foxtel also raised concerns, arguing the Productivity Commission had not considered the “very serious ramifications” that lifting geoblocking restrictions would have on “Australia’s production industry and Australia’s creative life and culture”.

The Government has now opened up the report to the public, taking submissions and consultations ahead of delivering a response on its recommendations mid next year.

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