Bugeja (PB)

About Bugeja (PB)

Paul Bugeja is a writer, editor, screenwriter and (sometimes) actor-director. His passions (read: obsessions) include sport, film, the arts and politics. With several books under his belt and a variety of other writing projects on the go, sitting as the Editor-in-Chief at the Big Smoke is his chance to bust out even further his geeky love of the written word and be part of an uber-cool new spot in the digpubsphere©

S&M: I was born on an Internet piracy ship (hold your tongue)

With Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull getting serious about Internet piracy, PB wonders whether his “stick and stick” approach will work.


This week, piracy has been back on the agenda.


Sadly, not that fun pirate-y stuff that involves rum, parrots, Johnny Depp or making jokes around “Ar Ar, me hearties, let’s go find us some treasure”.

No – that ol’ “Internet piracy” chestnut.

That thing, let’s face it, it seems that everyone has done at some point or is still doing, and that we Aussies are notoriously naughty with.

One word – #GOT

(PS did you know that creating memes and sharing YouTube clips is also effectively under the broader banner of Internet piracy kinda stuff – ya ha…it’s all about copyright and ownership peeps.)

Maybe it all stems back to Oz being born from dirty thieving convict stock (well, actually, not so many of us when you think of all the immigration there has been since Cook and co arrived)? Ok, that’s a bit clichéd, I know, but I’m talking about a more deeply-ingrained psychological “naughty naughty thing” that might have embedded itself into our national psyche…maybe, maybe not.

Whatever it is, Aussies do it, and do it a lot, and the Abbott government is ready to stamp it out. The man who would be King, but never will be (at least not if his Liberal party colleagues have anything to say about it), Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, has, in some homage to the Comm Games maybe, performed a double pike twist from the Internet piracy diving board in the last 48 hours.

On Thursday Master Turnbull called for film, music and other industries that are the victims of Internet piracy to bear the cost of enforcing the new regime of site blocking that he and his Not-quite-so-Liberal party wants to introduce.

A day later, the honourable member for Wentworth (wonder if he watches the Foxtel show of the same name – legally of course…he should, it’s not bad, but obvs not a patch on the original given the lack of the mention of those “bloody screws” or a packet of pine-lights shoved up someone’s sleeve – but I digress…) was encouraging the same industries to crack down on mum and dad pirates.


Is that the best you can do?

Let’s face facts – this kind of “stick and stick” approach isn’t going to change things – is it? Sure, it’s easy for me to slam this policy to the curb and not provide an alternative, but maybe Mr Turnbull might take this into consideration: at present, ISP’s, the film/music/gaming etc industry and the government can still at least monitor dirty downloads. If site’s that Aussies are accessing to satiate their Internet piracy hunger are blocked, ingenious IT geeks will find ways around them – they already are.

Or so I’ve heard…

Cracking down on Internet piracy requires a far more creative and nuanced approach than that which the current government is proposing.

Maybe making all digital content so cheap that it’s kinda dumb not to pay for it?

Or introducing an Internet piracy levy-that’s-not-a-tax that everyone has to pay, dirty downloader or not, the funds of which go to those being dirty downloaded against?

Or maybe simply tracking down those pirate mums and dads, and getting them to walk the plank from Clive Palmer’s Titanic 2…


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