iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby. John Koh/The West Australian.
iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby. John Koh/The West Australian.

Internet provider iiNet has defended users' right to access pirate websites, calling on the Hollywood studios and Federal Government to address why consumers were downloading in record numbers, rather than how they were doing it.

Amid reports that the Federal Government is developing tough legislation to crack down on Australians illegally downloading TV, movies and music, iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby said Australians would not breach copyright laws if content was readily available.

Weighing into the piracy debate, Mr Dalby said iiNet did not condone piracy but said if Australians were offered content at a fair price at the same time it was available elsewhere, illegal downloads would drop.

"It's pretty clear that consumers don't want to be hampered by delays or excess charges any more, they want access to content immediately and are willing to pay for it," Mr Dalby said, citing the rise of music streaming service Spotify. "The demand is clearly there, but they don't want to be treated like mugs.

"For example, The Lego Movie was released (locally) two months after it opened (in) the US. The local distributors came out . . . and complained of piracy, while probably not even looking at why it was being pirated."

Mr Dalby also urged consumers to lobby the Federal Government to change the anti-piracy proposals. Australia is the world leader in illegal downloads, with reports showing 11.6 per cent of the pirated downloads of the latest season of Game of Thrones came from Australia.

The West Australian

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