It is often said that governments work to improve IP when their own industries suffer. The Indonesian film industry was widely reported this week as complaining about losses of IDR 1.5 trillion (over $100 million) due to content and DVD piracy. It conducted research across the country and found that most Indonesians download illegal films online or buy pirated DVDs.
The biggest reason, the research indicated was that most people had no idea that watching movies that way was illegal in the first place. Not many genuine movies are available in DVD format any more, but pirate DVDs made in Indonesia are widely available. Newer online services like Netflix, Iflix and Hulu have only just started and are only available where bandwidth is high in cities. They are still more expensive than DVDs too. Peer to peer downloading is also a problem due to the availability of pirated content on sites. This was ultimately a bigger cost to the movie companies because illegal downloads in cities take customers away from cinemas.
Another major reason is poor access to movie theatres. "People are drawn to pirated content because it’s cheap, and for those in remote areas it's the only way to watch films," the researchers stated. There are a little over a thousand movie theatres in the country with many of those in the capital Jakarta.
Indonesian movie association Aprofi regularly reports illegal streaming and download sites. The Justice and Human Rights Ministry works with the Ministry of Communications and Informatics to shut them down. Aprofi reported over 300 sites in 2017. While many are taken down it is time consuming and in practice, doesn't always happen.
The solutions are more nuanced than just sporadic blocking of a few sites once a complaint is made. It is necessary to target multiple streams, mirror sites, to co-opt IPS assistance and take a far more aggressive approach at stopping the access to illegal content. Clearly blocking 300 so sites a year is not getting the industry anywhere. Apart from improving the legal remedies, there must also be accessible genuine movie channels, (so thousands more movie theatres – and jobs!), cheaper and more easily accessible genuine online content as well as more anti-piracy education.