Each month we hear from industry insiders in Australia and abroad to get their take on content piracy. Is content protection improving? How do we stop piracy? How does Australia compare to the rest of the world? These are some of the questions we’ll be exploring with leaders across the content industry.
Eileen is the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Copyright Council. After practising intellectual property law, Eileen moved in-house to APRA AMCOS. She has since taught and consulted in intellectual property, most recently at the College of Law where she spent 20 years writing, lecturing and working on course design. She was the Assistant Director of Practitioner Education, running the College’s Masters program. A former occasional legal officer at the ACC, Eileen is also a professional actor with a Masters in Fine Arts (QUT).
Welcome Eileen, please introduce yourself.
Hi. I am Eileen Camilleri and am the CEO of the Australian Copyright Council (the ACC). We are a small, independent, not-for-profit, non-government organisation dedicated to promoting understanding of copyright law and its application. We currently have 26 affiliate members who we work hard for in advocating for appropriate copyright protection and reform.
We provide free written legal advice to members of our affiliate organisations and Australian creators on copyright related issues. We also conduct training including seminars, webinars and develop customised training for organisations.
Does piracy affect your business or that of your stakeholders? How?
Piracy affects our affiliate members, particularly collecting societies whose role it is to support creators to earn a living through their work. We also advise individual creators on instances of piracy and online infringement through our legal advice service.
What do you think is the most significant impact of piracy on the creative industry?
The biggest impact unfortunately, is a financial one. It is already difficult for creatives to earn a living through their work and piracy makes it that much harder. Less money flowing to creatives means less resources and opportunity for cultural goods which is a net loss to society as a whole.
It is of course, very difficult for individual creators and small businesses in particular, who don’t necessarily have the means to litigate when their rights have been infringed.
What is the biggest challenge in the fight against piracy?
The biggest challenge in the fight against piracy is enforcement. The internet presents many challenges in this space, such as the anonymity of pirates and infringers, ever changing technology and the massive size of the world wide web. This means that piracy enforcement is often a ‘whack-a-mole’ exercise.
How do you think Australia is measuring up in tackling piracy?
In 2018, amendments were made to the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) which allow copyright owners to apply to the courts for an injunction requiring search engines and internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to sites which facilitate online copyright infringements. These reforms have been and Kickass Torrents.
Further, the recent shift to easily accessible and affordable online streaming models from rights holders has reduced online piracy by allowing consumers convenient access to copyright material, but it is a continuous battle!
Do you have any personal experiences or anecdotes about piracy?
Only that I have a couple of well-schooled children on the problems of piracy!
What are you watching and recommending to friends at the moment?
There’s a lot of fabulous content on free to air and streaming services at the moment.
I’m savouring the final season ‘Call My Agent’. On the Australian front, ‘Bump’ was terrific.
What excites you about the future of your industry sector?
Creative industries are always exciting. I am very lucky to be working in the space – you never know what new cultural shifts are just around the corner! The ACC is honoured to continue supporting creative Australia.