Why Australians Have No Excuse To Pirate 'House Of Cards'

One common excuse used by people who download TV shows illicitly is that Australians have to wait too long between when a show is broadcast in the US and the UK and when it's available here. That's going to be a tough line to pull when the second series of Netflix's hit drama House of Cards appears in February.

Picture: Getty Images

TV Tonight reports that Foxtel (which has the local rights for the show) will begin broadcasting the second series on its Showcase channel on 15 February. That's the same day as its US debut; it starts on 14 February on Netflix, but the time difference means that's 15 February here.

Foxtel is also making the entire series available on demand, so you can binge on Kevin Spacey and his cronies if you wish the second the show starts. Under those circumstances, it's quite hard to claim that we're being hard-done by. We can watch the show here the same way a US resident can watch it on Netflix.

Yes, I can already hear the screaming from here. Foxtel is too expensive, you cry. I'd happily pay a Netflix-style price for unlimited easy access to everything ever made, but I don't want to pay all that extra for stuff I won't watch. My response? That just leads us into an endless cycle of self-justification. Whatever you want to charge, someone will think it is too much.

We're not talking about an essential service here. We're talking about entertainment. I don't doubt that if the much-rumoured launch of Netflix happens in Australia and it matches the US pricing and breadth of content, Foxtel would be in deep trouble. But it hasn't happened yet.

I don't expect that will stop many people hitting the torrents or the dubious streaming sites when House Of Cards returns. Ditto for Game Of Thrones, The Walking Dead and anything else you care to name. But those shows aren't going to pay for themselves.

Returning: House Of Cards [TV Tonight]

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Comments

    The shows won't pay for themselves but I won't pay for Foxtel.

    Not just because it's completely overpriced but also because it's a fossil and it needs to go away.

    People need to stop putting money into it, period. Not only will they not be paying for a 70/30 split of ads and content anymore but maybe once Foxtel is gone some decent streaming services will fill the gap.

    I always hear the rumour that Netflix tried to set up shop here and got a massive block from Foxtel. I'm not exactly an expert on the subject but if a cheaper, higher quality service tries to move in and get somehow strong-armed by the current service does that not spell monopolisation?

    My recommendation is: if you have your heart set on paying for these TV shows then pay for them directly and use your creativity to find a way to access them from Australia.

      Pay for the VPN and pay for Netflix. That way you're supporting the show in a format intended and allowed for by the creators.

        I seriously doubt show creators are saying to Netflix "hey, subtract money from when you sell international rights to other markets".

          I don't get what you're saying.

          I just meant that, however you do it, if you want to watch it, make sure you're paying for it.

          How does that relate to what he just said.... fool. please read a little clearer.

        I much prefer buying the DVD/Blu-ray to Foxtel. I need no help in acquiring a copy of the show as it's released, least of through a restrictive method and full of ads. Besides, the last thing I want to do is support a rent-seeking monopoly that extracts gross profits from its competitive position.

        With the VPN/Netflix option, again why should I reward a VPN provider for essentially overcoming a manufactured hindrance? I consider buying something a dollar vote. If I'm buying a cavalcade of shows because that is the only option available, I'm supporting shows I have no interest in, and in effect wasting my money.

          Then just buy the DVD or Blu-Ray when it's released. Don't torrent. Simple. Legitimate. You don't get to watch it as it's aired, but that's your call when you don't purchase through those services.

            You're clinging to arbitrary rules set by large corporations used to having the power to decree contract terms in a take it or leave it fashion.

            The notion that we have to pay for it before we use it (view it) is arbitrary. I can pay my electricity or gas a full month after the billing period. Not being able to judge whether it is worth your money is equally arbitrary. I'm sure you take for granted that you should have the right to try on clothes or test drive a car before you buy it.

            And guess what, by your logic, I'm sure you've ended up paying for shows you ended up thinking were complete garbage. Meanwhile I suspect I've sampled a whole lot more content thank you & been in a much better position to dole out my limited funds to who I believe is most deserving.

              So you don't pay money for the shows that you torrent, but don't like? So you feel entitled to entertainment for free?

              And for the record, the only times I've 'paid' for content I haven't enjoyed is when I've watched through netflix and hulu. Which I'm paying a monthly fee for, so it's no skin off my nose.

                Yes, because paying to watch shows before knowing whether you like them is for schmucks. And again, completely arbitrary. Suppose I chose to wait until it was shown on TV to preview it. The only people who would lose out are the content creators who would get their money later if at all.

                I am certain too (and this applies more to music but also TV/movies) that I've discovered much more entertainment that I like and feel deserves my money than I would have with TV. And again, I don't see the need to pay for cable to have the 'privilege' of being able to sample shows.

                In fact I'd wager that across movies, TV and music I spend more than you (or let's say, the average person). That's sorely based on the ability to sample that the internet has provided. Sure some of its not the content that Foxtel picks up, or the music that gets exposure from top sales rankings, but all the better for it.

                  So you think you're smarter than other people rather than someone with an inflated sense of entitlement.

        Exactly what I started doing this year - it feels particularly good with House of Cards because Netflix is producing the series as well; it's bound to mean that there are fewer middlemen taking their cut and a larger cut is going to the actual creators.

      But you don't have a right to watch house of cards or any other TV show.

      If I don't want to pay $20 for a movie, i don't have the right to sneak into hoyts to watch The Wolf of Wallstreet. Or to illegally download it.

      This is the big flaw, people have a default position that they're some how entitled to watch shows. That they can then make a judgement, which surprisingly always does come out to the cheapest option, generally not paying.

        The two friends I know who own an apple TVs both bought the (affordable) season pass off itunes for Game of Thrones instead of pirating it as they had been. Even though they did have to wait an extra day over pirates.

        There's plenty of evidence to show that affordability and convenience can convert a pirate to a purchase.

        The issue isn’t as black and white as who owns this and who has a right to watch that. It’s disingenuous to suggest that it is.

        There are two parties involved in any monetary transaction and each has expectations of and responsibilities to the other.

        A content distributer wants you to buy their product but they have a responsibility to make it readily available and affordable. If they don’t then they cannot reasonably expect people to buy it.

        A consumer has a responsibility to not steal the content so that the people who create it can earn a living but also expect for the product to be worth the time and money that they sink into it.

        Companies can argue from dusk till dawn that the content belongs to them and that no-one has a right to view it without their permission but back in reality it’s unrealistic to expect people to buy something that is a pain in the arse to pay for and easy to get for free.

        Some people—like me, for example—have a predisposition towards paying for quality products that they enjoy, but content distributers have all the power. They are the only ones who can change availability or pricing and so they are the only ones who can be held responsible for the level of piracy that they experience.

        It has been proven time and again that if something is quality, affordable and readily available then people will buy it.

        If you are a company that is going to rely on Foxtel, an exclusively expensive and inefficient subscription based satellite provider, to distribute your content then you should not be surprised when everyone in Australia pirates it. You really don’t have the right to expect people to go into that for your one TV show.

        Because these companies exist in reality, and not in the black and white copyright world that many people like to pretend exists.

      It's not monopolisation if you already own all of the infrastructure that these companies need apparently. We all know it is, but somehow it's allowed to continue. (Because there are far too many rule makers with their hands in the cookie jar)

      Netflix isn't the only company to try set up shop here either. Not to mention many gaming companies avoid Australian based servers due to the massive cost estimates they are given.

      The thing with foxtel is that it forces you to buy higher and higher tiers of things to get the one or two things one you wanted. So i have to buy dozens of channels for the one channel i want. And its really overpriced to boot.

    Yep, we still have a reason. We're not going to pay $50 a month to watch one TV show on Showcase and after it finishes, cancel the box and pay the cancellation fees. I'll stick to what's best.

    Cheapest foxtel package that includes Showcase is $74/month. VPN + Netflix will run me up at most $20/month.

    That and I can't get foxtel in my building anyway.

      Basic is 38 plus movies 25 = 63. Usually if you sign up with hardware you can get movies or sports free for 6 mo.

      Plus if you have broadband, then yes you can - Foxtel on tbox or xbox360, which is actually cheaper.

      I love how everyone keeps on justifying their actions, even of they know they're wrong, simply based on dollars. As if that makes everything okay.

        The Australian government promotes using VPN to obtain content that should otherwise not be restricted for Australians. Also @Malkers is paying for said content so there are not thieves here. Lastly, working in Telstra myself for the past 8 years, Foxtel essentials is being raised to $49 and then it is $25 additionally for the pack mentioned, receiving only a 10% discount if you have a bundle with Telstra on the same account. You may receive 'other' benefits but they are not standard and should be considered as such.

          How does the government promote the use of VPN to do that? That's not something that I've ever heard of.

            there was a court case not too long ago that said there should be no region locking on dvd players and things of that nature as it is anti competitive or restrictive ... forgot the exact reason sorry

            But alas there still is region locked game consoles, netflix style services and regions on bluray / dvd players

              Perhaps you're thinking of the CHOICE analysis? http://www.choice.com.au/reviews-and-tests/computers-and-online/networking-and-internet/shopping-online/navigating-online-geoblocks/page.aspx

                The federal parliament did indeed suggest we use a VPN to access content.
                Source: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-07-29/geo-blocking-mps-committee-price-report-apple-adobe-microsoft/4850484

        Well, not really cheaper via Play. Its $50 minimum to get Play, plus an Xbox Gold subscription if you have a 360 or a Telstra lock in contract for the t-box. Then your broadband fees on top of that each month. At a 1 gig an hour, that's roughly 13 gigs to watch a season. When the mathemagics are worked out, you might find its a more expensive way in the end to watch Foxtel.

        Except that even Foxtel Go is still not "on demand" and includes ads. How can you be so deluded to think that's the superior option.

        Also you think our "actions" are wrong... how exactly is that? I'm still paying for netflix. Just like 300 million people in the US are able too (not to mention UK and Canada). The only reason we don't have this service is because foxtel owns a monopoly on our payTV.
        Have you noticed there is no competitor. Of course they can charge whatever they want.
        It's the same reason we only have 1 casino in Melboure. Crown won't let the government give out another casino license.

        "I love how everyone keeps on justifying their actions, even of they know they're wrong, simply based on dollars. As if that makes everything okay."

        There is no other serious way to put pressure on company's to provide content at a reasonable rate. You think boycotting a show makes them care ? not a chance ! and i want them to care. I want to help promote change in this industry and this is one of the only ways to push for this change.

        I really have not seen another viable way to exert pressure for change. And like i said boycotting is rubbish. "still doesn't give you the right" argument is irrelevant . I am pushing for change in this industry and i am forced down this path since other avenues do not work.

        I do want to watch their content they make and i want a reasonable price option to consume that media like others do in their home market, this is the global world now and start doing business like you understand that. Speed on when it becomes available here is just part of the equation. Pricing is a massive issue too.

        At least when people torrent content the makers sit up, listen and take notice of them.

        Personally im not interested in this show at all but that is the reasoning behind it.

    I refuse to support foxtel, and will find another way to access it, until it gets released on blu-ray, which I will buy to support the show.

    No, the shows don't pay for themselves but they seem viable by charging US users $8/month versus the $75/month here for Foxtel. As Matt says, I'll continue using my creativity and pay for these shows directly at a fraction of the cost of Foxtel.

    Whatever you want to charge, someone will think it is too much.

    i've never once heard anyone say netflix is over priced and that includes the countless people who pay more then the $8 a month to VPN it to Australia and the likes, sure there is probably one person out there who thinks its rip off but i really don't think that excuse flies in this argument.

    We aren't talking a $5 price difference and we certainly aren't talking comparable services, sure they are getting this one thing right but that hardly excuses foxtel/Australian media companies for everything else and its certainly not a decent reason to shame people out of downloading it

      I have a free VPN and for considerably less than the cost of the most BASIC foxtel package i get both Netflix and Hulu streamed directly into my apartment. I don't need to steal anything. And i don't need to support the fossilized dinosaur Foxtel.

    Give people what they want, when they want it, in the form they want it in, at a reasonable price, and they’ll more likely pay for it rather than steal it. Well, some will still steal it, but I think we can take a bite out of piracy.

    http://m.ibtimes.com/kevin-spacey-speech-why-netflix-model-can-save-television-video-full-transcript-1401970

    We’re talking about entertainmentThat doesn't mean it's something we should drop because it's not a life essential...! Your logic is flawed, as you state yourself, Foxtel is the only one that has it, isn't that a form of monopoly..? I had Foxtel on for years, and it was years of paying for ads, repeats and dross...!

      It is nothing like a monopoly.
      The Regent Theatre is the only place in melbourne showing King Kong, that doesn't give them a monopoly.

        A theatre production - which by it's very nature is tied to a location - is a world away from a digital product that can be sold in various formats from various locations. Having such a product tied to one vendor certainly looks like a monopoly.
        Also the Regent Theatre don't ask me to pay for a 6 month subscription to go to one show. They also don't have the temerity to show me ads during the performance.

          They could if they wanted to. And they'd be within their rights to do so. If you didn't want to agree to that, fine, but that means you don't get to watch the show.

        Well, technically that actually does give them the monopoly as far as showing King Kong in Melbourne goes. If you want to see King Kong in Melbourne, you have to see it at the Regent. Monopoly.

      I had Foxtel on for years, and it was years of paying for ads, repeats and dross...!

      Sad thing is it used to be a good service. Before the new millennium, there were hardly any repeats and the variety was higher.

      Mind you, this was also when Galaxy was still alive and kicking (itself to pieces).

      Last edited 23/01/14 2:19 pm

    It's on Foxtel. So yeah, I still have an excuse I'm more than happy with. I will still download the 720p versions as soon as its released and not give a f**k.

      I hear they'll have it in 4K on Netflix. http://www.engadget.com/2014/01/06/netflix-confirms-it-will-stream-house-of-cards-in-4k-this-year/

        can I download a 4K TV for free yet?

          You wouldn't download a car.

            Now that 3D printers are starting tome out.. you probably can :P

              HE He true.

              Can't believe my joke got a down vote. Clearly went over someone's head. Maybe a youngun who never saw those hilarious piracy ads from the earlier part of the last decade?

        The standard (for me) is 720p for TV shows (premium tv shows at 1080p) and 1080p for movies (premium movies will soon be 4k once they start being released). I've got over 100TB of storage... but still have to budget it!

    Why Australians Have No Excuse To Pirate 'House Of Cards' = Walking Dead

    I'm sorry but your heading is just plain insulting!

    There is no way in hell that I would entertain embracing Foxtel and it's greedy subscription model. We need choice, simple as that. At least with Game of Thrones you are able to purchase a season or single episodes through iTunes. As much as it pains me to bend to another massive media company, it is a much more preferable model to what we have!

    You speak as if, Foxtel a is Free to Air Television channel - makes me laugh. The bottom line is, Australians will download it anyway.

    Foxtel is enough of an excuse

    I want the file. I don't want to stream, or watch on a tv broadcast, or grab DVDs every time I want to watch something else. I want the shows made available for me to buy as a file that I can store on my own storage medium.
    That's how I want my media these days, and I don't think it's too much to ask

      I don't think it's too much to ask at all, after all if you buy a dvd/BR you can watch that however many times you want on whatever player you like, what's the differenece?

      Why can't we buy a digital format that does that? Why is it that as soon as it's a digital format we can only stream it, or watch it in a set amount of time or it's loaded with DRM that means it can only be played on a set amount of devices, or devices made by a specific brand?

        The difference is that you can't play a DVD/BR on your mobile devices. You need the file. Pirating is the easiest and quickest way to get that file. Plus it is free.

          Yes but if you have a hardcopy like a DVD/BR you can just rip it and then watch it on as many different devices as you want, and since you were the one who ripped it, there won't be any DRM on it to restrict you.

    I think the thing you are overlooking is that Foxtel is a monopoly with monopoly pricing. The argument 'it's too expensive' is perfectly valid in this context. This is especially true considering that besides a few premium shows, Foxtel offers a very poor value (for me at least - maybe binging on Keeping up with the Kardashians, The Big Bang Theory and That '70's Show appeals more to you).

    Having said that I 100% agree with you. Not because Foxtel has managed to get access to the show by offering the distributors a huge pot of money, which the pay for with their equally huge subscription fee, secure in the knowledge that there is no real threat to their monopoly position.
    I say this because bypassing the geo-block on Netflix is so so SO easy. While there are some still some legal complications with that, you are still paying for content. The creators are being rewarded.

    And if you can wait a little bit (which I can, but I understand others can’t) you could have watch the whole last season of Game of Thrones on iTunes a day or two after Foxtel aired it. It was less than $30, so I didn’t pirate that. Seemed reasonable (and actually BETTER than what they get in the US, where only HBO had it).

    They are learning – but I still think not quick enough.

      Unfortunately you won't be able to download HBO shows from iTunes this year, and perhaps no other Showcase shows. Foxtel have struck a deal that prevents the shows being sold to iTunes as well. This year, it's Foxtel or nothing.

      That said, the complaints throughout the comments about Foxtel's monopoly should be clarified. Subscribing to HBO on top of your normal cable bill is the only way to watch Game of Thrones in America too, so saying we have a raw deal in that way isn't quite true. There's little difference in how the show is made available.

      The difference is that you can get cable, and therefore HBO, from a variety of providers, who compete with each other on pricing. I believe the UK has multiple providers too. Foxtel only offers cheaper prices if you're an existing subscriber and threaten to cancel at the end of your contract.

      So while I sympathise with the article's point that we shouldn't continue to complain/pirate when a quick, legal option is available, our pay TV environment means that signing up with ad-ridden, expensive Foxtel (on most non-Showcase channels) feels like surrendering to tyranny rather than being virtuous. People who want HBO can shop around or wait for a good deal. We have no such option.

        No iTunes? Fuck.

        See this is the problem. I was perfectly happy to buy Game of Thrones on iTunes a few days late. and bypass Foxtel. I understand that piracy is ultimately unsustainable, and I am happy to support the creation of quality content.

        But I am not going to sign up to Foxtel for the one or two shows I want. If iTunes doesn't get season 4 of GoT I will pirate it, and won't feel guilty about it.

    Rupert Murdoch killed the Labour NBN to protect Foxtel.

      No he didn't. And if memory serves me correctly, Foxtel is half owned by News Corp.

      The other half happens to be Telstra and where do their interests lie?

      Eitherway, the unfounded Murdoch bashing trend has ended. No one believes that fallacy anymore so there is no point in bringing it up again. Even jokingly.

      The NBN was shut down by the Coalition (which Australian's voted for in the last election). And the Coalition shut it down purely because it was a Labor invention. Labor pretty much gave the NBN a knee capping but the Coalition ran it over with a 18 wheeler.

      Last edited 23/01/14 1:51 pm

        LOL U MAD BRO?

        Rupert Murdoch Executive Chairman of News Corp. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/News_Corp

          We all know that.

          It still does not mean he terminated the NBN. The fact is the project was shut down by the Coalition. Murdoch does not control the Coalition.

          If it was Fairfax instead of News Corp, people would be blaming Gina "White Elephant" Rineheart instead (not because she's CEO but because the the mogul on the board).

          What you are providing is convenient conjecture which has no firm grounding in the real world.

          Last edited 23/01/14 2:32 pm

    Awesome, show me the link where I can buy this show from Foxtel? I'm not going to subscribe to some shonky service to access 1 TV show. These fools need to make shows available for single purchase, on demand, downloadable, without DRM. That's what all the torrent sites offer, that's who they're competing with here, this is the best they can come up with? A half assed attempt to get more subscribers, and paying off bloggers to talk it up like they're doing a favour to us?

    Foxtel can eat a dick, I'll keep using a VPN to access Netflix.

    This article misses the point. Australian consumers have the best kind of leverage to get what we want. We are voting with our wallets, against ancient business models like foxtel. Some of us will still pay the content creators through netflix, others will not. But caving in to foxtel and just paying simply because its available at any price is missing the point. This is the free market, and we have the ability to pay nothing. Foxtel/Netflix have to meet us where we want them, not halfway, especially not on their terms. This is truly free market capitalism.

      Piracy is actually outside free market capitalism.

        Tell that to the large media companies who pay millions of dollars each year to keep it illegal/track down offenders outside the criminal justice system. If they can use their position (that of extreme wealth) to attempt to keep their monopoly, then i believe i can use whatever means available to me to prevent that.

      +1
      The argument that Corporations have the right to charge whatever they like in each country is the same argument that used to prop up importation tarrifs and other forms of protectionism.
      They're trying to have their Cake and eat it.
      Screw them, I want some Cake too!

    Video tape the show on your foxtel and lend it to your neighbour - perfectly acceptable, download the same show and your a filthy pirate that should be bankrupted for the next 5 generations and serve more jail time then most hardened criminals

      Actually, no. Videotaping foxtel and giving a copy to your neighbour will incur the same penalty as illegally downloading and sharing the same show.

      While I'm not hugely against TV piracy, the more realistic comparison would be to tape the show, make tons of copies, then leave them on your door step with a big 'free' sign so that your neighbour or anyone else who knows it's there can take one.
      I mean internet based TV piracy isn't a violent crime or anything, and I agree the punishments on this stuff are typically absurd, but it's dramatically different to handing over one copy of the show to one person who you know that you made specifically for them. We tend to forget because it all either happens quickly or behind the scenes but the way it's shared/accessed is so much more efficient than old school piracy. I could literally never pay for a movie, song or game again even though aside from myself I don't know anyone who even knows how to rip a DVD.
      In the 90's you had to at least know a guy who knew a guy who knew where to buy pirate games/music. When people make the argument that it's no different to taping a song off the radio I just can't help but feel they're kidding themselves (either that or they're too young to remember requesting a song and spending the next 20 minutes with their finger over the record button. =P).

    Foxtel piss off - not value for money - wouldn't watch 99% of the shows, but have to pay for them.
    Outdated business model. BTW Channel 9 - I will have the new season of shelock delivered to my house on DVD from englland before you air the damn thing.

    I pay for all of my content. I use unblock-us and netflix for streaming, and itunes for Game of Thrones and Amazon Prime for The Walking Dead. Anything else I wait and get it on BD (Sherlock for instance)
    If Australian companies started offering similar quality services, for similar money, I will pay them instead, but foxtel and quickflix are total jokes.

    Nah, Foxtel can go to hell - I'd rather encourage services like Netflix and Hulu to become available in Australia.

    I'll continue to torrent shows then buy the blu-rays at the end of the season like I do now.

    Should we be worried that this deal means that the Netflix rumours are false or that a launch is a long way off? If they've just registered an Australian website as the AFR recently claimed, why would one of their signature shows be sold to Foxtel? Perhaps all of Netflix's shows have been sold to Foxtel in a non-exclusive deal and they can swoop in in a few months and still offer them to stream. That would be important, because one of Netflix's progressive moves has been to make its original shows available in all the territories they operate simultaneously. Not being able to do so here would make them look pretty ineffectual at launch.

    Then again, I'm pretty sure Netflix don't own their original shows. Could they have even been in a position to influence the distributors (Sony, Gaumont, Fox, etc) to sell non-exclusive rights? Or does House of Cards season 2 on Foxtel mean that Netflix AU is just a dream?

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