Who reading this has never downloaded music, art or text illegally? Very few of us? With so much online content freely available and “free of charge” taking what we want when we want has become normalised.
Kim Williams, Chair of the Copyright Agency, is an Australian media executive and composer who has worked with prominent organisations such as Musica Viva Australia, Foxtel, the Australian Film Commission, the Sydney Opera House Trust and News Limited. He truly believes it is a shame that we have normalised the stealing of content from artists and authors with little to no thought of the implications behind or consequences of this action.
Many of us who steal content use excuses like, “The companies that publish these books pay authors too little and charge us too much”. By illegally downloading content illegally we claim we are retaliating retaliating or breaking free of these unfair restrictions and impositions.
Williams has no time for this kind of thinking, because, he suggests, it’s ultimately the artists who suffer not the publishing companies. He claims that in the past 10 years the average incomes of authors and artists has reduced by over 40%, thanks to such practices.
Williams suggests that in order to mitigate illegal downloading, the industries affected need to stop living in denial about the changes in technology and youth, and how thee impact upon existing copyright laws, and devise solutions that ensures that the retail cost and distribution concerns of consumers are addressed. He also believes that these organisations need to better educate consumers in regard to the effect their practices have on creators.
His greatest fear for the future is that the continuation of illegal downloading practices will totally erode people’s regard for copyright. He closed with an appeal to the audience suggesting that if we want to continue enjoying these creative works we must support those who create them by adhering to copyright law because if we do not, then who will?
Edited by Margaret Robson Kett