News Corporation executive Robert Thomson is the latest big cheese to take Google to task over its approach to combating Internet piracy, TorrentFreak reports. Thomson cited instances of widespread piracy in Australia, where many allegedly swipe episodes of Game of Thrones, instead of paying for subscriptions to Foxtel, a cable and TV service provider based in that country.
“For a company to have a sophisticated algorithm that knows exactly where you are and what you’re doing and maintains ignorance on piracy is an untenable contradiction,” Thomson said. “There’s no doubt that search giants need to be held to account. It’s obvious that it is illegal content or content accessed illegally.”
Back in March, Google made a recommendation to the Australian government, arguing that online piracy is an issue that stems from problems relating to the availability and price of content.
“We would be disappointed if the Government decided to go down the route of overly harsh regulation to combat piracy without considering the evidence from around the world that this would likely be costly for businesses to implement and with little effect,” Google reportedly said.
Despite Google’s statements on the matter, Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein says that current piracy levels are simply unacceptable.
“We made Game of Thrones available at a good price on Foxtel Play and yet it was still heavily illegally downloaded,” Freudenstein says. “The longer this goes on, the more people don’t seem to think of it as theft, which is what it is.”
However, according to TorrentFreak, it costs $500 USD to get access to season 4 of Game of Thrones via Foxtel Play, with a per-episode rate of $50.
If those prices are accurate, it’s no wonder that high levels of piracy are occurring in Australia, and around the world as well.