Downloading TV – Why Free to Air has turned Australians to crime

It has only been legal to record TV in Australia since late 2006. Of course, for nearly 30 years most of us have had video recorders, then DVD and hard disk recorders that don’t really have any other purpose but to record TV shows.

Video recorders have been freely available to buy the whole time, despite the fact that it was technically illegal to record TV with them (which is what we all did). So in 2006 the law changed to allow “time-shifting”.

What that means is that:

  • You can record a program to watch later by yourself or with members of your household
  • You can also record the program from the internet, but only if it’s a live broadcast (simultaneous with the TV airing).

That’s it. That’s all you can do legally.

A commenter on an article about Internet TV over on IT wire – which quoted a Cisco study that shows that 59% of Australians watch TV on the Internet now – asked the question, “Is it illegal to download shows that have already aired in Aus?”.

The author of the article Alex Zaharov-Reutt pointed to the thin pickings of legal, downloadable TV content in Australia. Most popular shows are not downloadable, and few of the downloads that are available are even full episodes. So the commenter reasoned, if the show has been aired on free TV, surely I can download it legally?

What you still can’t do legally:

  • Record a program and watch it at the same time
  • Record a program to watch again and again
  • Download a program from the internet after it has aired on free TV

Check out the Australian Copyright Council’s information sheet about recording TV here:

It seems that we have been spoiled by free to air TV for too long. Now that Australians are leaving the TV and spending more time on the internet, we seem to expect that everything is free over there too!

What we forget is that free to air TV is supported by advertising. It’s easy to forget that advertisers pay high prices for TV ads and some of that money buys the copyright to actually broadcast the TV show.

But this model doesn’t work on the internet. The reason it doesn’t work lies in the following comparison:

Free to Air Internet TV
Channels available Limited Unlimited
Time slots Limited Unlimited / Whenever you want it
Number of shows Limited by channels and time slots Infinitely more shows
Advertising Revenue Prime time big $$$ Advertising revenue is very limited
Cost of show Big $$$ Small $$$
Quality of show High quality, what you’d expect for the money Varies wildly
Employs Producers, Actors, Writers, Directors,
Executives, Production teams
Small teams, no gravy train
Audience Limited local audience Potential global audience

It’s just painful. I can’t bear the thought of paying to watch a TV show. Connecting the thrill of watching The IT Crowd or Desperate Housewives with a dollar departing from my wallet just destroys any pleasure that’s in it for me. Especially when it has been free to watch TV ever since the box was invented.

But the reality is, if we want people to spend their lives creating great TV shows, then someone has to pay them to do it… And if we want content on demand, on the ‘net and downloadable at any time, then we’re going to have to pay for the privilege.

Hmmm. Maybe it’s time to stop watching TV and go for a walk outside instead.

Written by brettg in: Uncategorized |

Adding your WordPress Blog to Facebook

I’m using the Wordbook plug-in to publish this blog to my Facebook mini-feed. It is  pretty simple to install the plug-in. Just download it and upload it to your plug-ins directory. It walks you through setting up the WordPress key and adding the application to your Facebook page.


Written by brettg in: WordPress |

eBay forces PayPal to grab extra share of your wallet

eBay intends to force PayPal on youEvery Australian that has ever bought or sold in online auctions had shivers sent down their spine when eBay recently announced its intention to force everyone to use PayPal.

There are several reasons why eBay should be blocked from forcing you to use PayPal. The include the fact that:

  • eBay is bad at customer service
  • PayPal is bad at customer service
  • A number PayPal’s Terms and Conditions violate Australian Law

eBay should not be allowed to abuse its monopoly power in Australia or anywhere in the world. If you use eBay, it is vital that you make your submission to the ACCC about this threat to your choice.

Visit the ACCC website to read current submissions and make your submission here:

For ideas on what to submit, there is a notable submission from Electronic Frontiers Australia Inc found here.

Written by brettg in: Online | Tags: ,

Important Message from I.T. – Don't type Google into Google

I’m totally addicted to The IT crowd. I’ve watched all 12 episodes and I just can’t get enough. Anyway, a quick note from Jen, I have it on good authority that you should not type Google into Google.


To the producers: Please, please, please make season 3 in a hurry. And while you’re at it, make season four… and five. I’m desperate!

Written by brettg in: Business,Funny Stuff | Tags:

Mitre 10 employ content marketing

While I was researching my vege garden I found an excellent article on the website. The content was supplied in a DIY guide format by Mitre 10.

Now Mitre 10 have copped a heck of a beating from Wesfarmer’s Bunnings behemoth in Australia over the last 10 or 15 years. It’s good to see Mitre 10 fighting back with content marketing. When you establish yourself as an expert online by giving out lots of useful information you also build your profile and loyalty with your customers (or prospects).

Since Bunnings is on just about every corner, I haven’t been to a Mitre 10 for a long time. I might just venture in when I’m ready to put this vege garden together. It will be interesting to see if they can back up their content with in store service.

Written by brettg in: Vege Garden,Web Marketing | Tags:

Vege Garden

We’re moving home and starting a vege garden. I’m super excited about it… not so much the moving part, more about the vege garden.

Some of the things that we’re going to grow are:

  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Sweet corn
  • Sunflowers
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Snow peas
  • Beans
  • Garlic
  • Rhubarb
  • Pumpkin
  • Herbs, Mint, Parsley etc.

It’s going to be fun! 🙂 Will post photos.

Written by brettg in: Vege Garden |

Should I start a business?

Are you working in a job where you feel like you’re being taken advantage of? Its hard to feel like you’re not being valued adequately.

Starting a business could be an answer to your problem, but beware… Starting a business comes at a price.

That’s why you need to educate yourself first.

Are you an expert in your field?

If so, then deciding to go it alone probably means that you’re still trading your time for money. And a service business is that hardest type of business to run. Employing staff in a service business is even harder. Definitely not for the inexperienced. Look at the record of the construction industry and you’ll know that services are risky business for the uneducated.

The best way to master the basics of business by trading simple products.

Don’t be fooled though, there is a cost to changing your situation. It’s usually measured in time and money.

The one thing I can guarantee is that you’ll learn faster than you ever have before!

Written by brettg in: Business |

Being the first to reach your goal does not make you the winner

It seems to me that achieving your goal makes you more of a survivor. It means your still alive, and you haven’t yet joined the living dead.

I was reading Justin Herald’s money stuff blog today and it reminded me of one of the most incredible and motivating stories of survival that I’ve ever heard.

It is the story of Joe Simpson and Simon Yates. You may have heard of the documentary film of their story (and the book) called “Touching the void.” If you haven’t seen it, here’s an introduction for you:
The following video explains Joe’s method of setting small goals and achieving them in order to survive.


It’s an incredible illustration of the power of setting small achievable goals. If Joe thought about the huge task of getting off the mountain with major dehydration and a broken leg I’ve no doubt that he would have died and we would never have heard this story.

Too often it’s hard to block out the noise of life. The demands of others, the voices in your head, your doubts, fears and worries, the boredom, the striving for pleasure – they’re all distractions sucking you away from reaching your goals.

But, when the chips are down and there is nothing but survival to achieve, everything becomes clear. The distractions fade away and moving 20 feet from rock to rock is your singular thought. That is what drives you on.

How can we get that kind of clarity down here on the ground? Step by step, one bite at a time.

Written by brettg in: Goal setting |

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