WE SAY: Chase the gougers, not just the pirates

OUR VIEW: ON THE face of it, Federal Government moves to stop online piracy should have our whole-hearted support.

The cost of illegal downloads in Australia is more than $1.3 billion a year.

One in five users in this country illegally downloads movies, TV programs or music, one of the highest rates per capita of online piracy in the world.

But perhaps the government should first consider why Australians are so willing to steal rather than pay for content. The fact is, some international companies target Australian consumers.

Apple, for example, sells its goods to Australians for hundreds of dollars more than to its customers in the US and the UK. And Australians can pay more for TV, movies and music.

Now Australia's biggest telecommunications companies say they are willing to block customers from accessing overseas websites hosting pirated movies and music. And Telstra, Optus,

iiNet, Vodafone and other internet service providers are ready to negotiate a scheme to punish internet users who have received warnings to stop pirate downloads.

All things being equal, the measures do not seem unfair.

All things being equal. But they are not. The only way the Federal Government can address the problem is to also target companies price gouging, which encourages piracy. Going after consumers only will not work.

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