Is Downloading Movies Illegal?
No, there are various paid services out there like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Hulu, that allow you to download legal movies onto your device. These services get these movies directly from the distributor or the studio that produced the film and make them available for direct download.
With that said, if you’re downloading movies through a torrent service, or an illegal movie website, then you’re committing piracy, and that’s definitely illegal!
For the past couple decades, movie piracy has been a huge problem in the film industry. But lately, piracy rates have reduced worldwide thanks to the rise of convenient and affordable streaming services.
Why Aren’t People Pirating Movies Anymore?
On-demand streaming services have a ton of advantages over piracy:
- They’re completely legal and legitimate.
- There’s no chance of picking up a virus or malware.
- The quality is often much better than pirated media
- They offer readily available subtitles in multiple languages.
- The consumer doesn’t have to deal with download times.
- They have all the latest movies and TV series, ready to watch at a moments notice.
According to IP infringement monitoring agencies like INCOPRO, there’s been a marked decrease in Australians visiting movie piracy sites. Less than 18% of Australians are actively engaged with movie and media piracy, in comparison to over 25% five years ago.
The Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association (AHEDA) says that this largely thanks to the sharp rise in digital video subscriptions, which has increased by 56 percent from last year. Since the biggest issue that often pushed people into pirating media was accessibility and cost, subscriptions have given them a good middle ground to stop the activity.
The Penalties Of Piracy
Another factor affecting the drop in piracy is the Australian federal government's crackdown on piracy. The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2018 is just the latest in a series of steps they’ve made to block pirate websites and content in the country. The penalties aren’t anything to snicker at: aside from getting your website blocked, you can also serve jail time and be forced to pay for damages caused.
What Can I Do To Avoid Piracy?
If you’re worried that your activity might be flagged as piracy by the government, here are some quick tips you can keep in mind:
- Only look for movies on legitimate sites: Netflix is the big one, but Youtube, Stan, Foxtel, and other subscription sites are also good choices. They’ll even show you how to download your shows and movies so you can watch offline!
- Stay away from “free” movie downloads websites or unverified torrents: They’re most likely unauthorised rips from legitimate streaming services, and you never know if there’s a nasty virus packaged in that downloaded file.
- Be prepared to buy movies online: We can’t stress this enough: you need to pay for legitimate access to media. Not only does this ensure that you get properly licensed content, but it’ll be in a quality and format that’s way better than the pirates.
- If it’s not there yet, wait for the actual release: Don’t expect that movie you just watched will already be on your subscription. Give them some time to get there, and don’t go poking around for bootleg copies – the wait is worth it!
- Do your research: Finally, the social media for your favourite movies/series is a good source of information about where you can watch them legitimately. Just dropping by their Facebook or Twitter can nab you this info, along with a few giveaways and treats you can join if you’re lucky!
Thanks to new laws, new services, and easier access to content, Australians may finally be able to kick the piracy habit for good. It certainly won’t happen today or even tomorrow, but if the data’s to be believed, we’re smoothly sailing towards clear waters!
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