News Ltd chief executive Kim Williams has called on the government to strengthen legislation to stop rampant piracy.
Williams, speaking at the Australian International Movie Convention on the Gold Coast, called on the government to revamp the existing copyright framework to reflect the industry's shift from analogue to digital.
"What the Australian production and distribution industry needs are renovated legal underpinnings that acknowledge the primary right of copyright owners to exploit their work in the certain knowledge that theft will be prevented and punished equally," Williams said.
"Without that core commercial underpinning the outlook for our industry – the digital entertainment industry – is grim indeed. Whilst there is endless talk about the NBN there is yet to be any formal acknowledgement that the legislative and enforcement frameworks are disastrously outmoded and defective to sustain any relevance in confronting a modern high speed digital delivery world.
"Without immediate and wholesale makeover we are condemning our nation to relentless criminal rip-off and plunder of original IP on an unprecedented scale which will make the current 65 per cent rate of consumption being of stolen material look like a pathetically modest nun's picnic."
The former Foxtel boss, who has also held senior roles at the Australian Film Commission, the Film Finance Corporation and ABC, said the main perpetrators of piracy usually blamed others rather than taking responsibility for their own actions.
He also suggested that Internet Service Providers should take more responsibility, noting research by the Intellectual Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation (IPAF) found that 73 per cent of illegal downloaders said they would stop if their ISP threatened to slow down or halt downloading.
"To my mind this constitutes a powerful and effective deterrent that Australia should now be contemplating… any approach to digital copyright protection needs to capture all forms of piracy on the net and have effective mitigations and penalties."
Williams also listed his top 10 favourite films (below), noting that such quality content would be unlikely to be created in future without adequate anti-piracy regulations.
Kim Williams' top 10 films
1. Amarcord – Frederick Fellini – my all time favourite film. Intensely personal, loving of community and tinged with nostalgia and clarity about people and the cavalcade of human events that affect one's life rendered with a poignancy that is literally unforgettable.
2. The Godfather – Francis Ford Coppola – quite simply the modern American masterpiece that reinvented epic narrative drama with intense intimacy and grand spectacle whilst capturing a cultural resonance that was wholly original.
3. The Rules of the Game – Jean Renoir – for me a timeless humanist drama which captivates my memory still after 40 years.
4. Close to Eden – Nikita Mikhalkov – the power of the cinema to tell a unique affecting original story like no other medium.
5. Gallipoli – Peter Weir – history rendered exquisitely so that it lives for an audience with power and enduring meaning. It captures the horror of war with all the insight and poignancy of Wilfred Owen. And the stupidity of so many of the generals. And what a line-up of home-grown acting talent, too.
6. Mad Max 2 – George Miller – the best modern post apocalypse heroic Greek style drama which is a true Australian masterpiece. George Miller is an Australian artistic genius, no doubt about it.
7. An Angel at My Table – Jane Campion – is for me one of the great story telling creations of the nineties. I shall love it forever.
8. The Great Dictator – Charlie Chaplin – the grandest and most cutting film of all about Hitler and yet it is silent and a brilliant mix of slapstick and satire. Art in the service of democracy, giving the world a reason to fight the Second World War.
9. Jedda – Charles Chauvel – my lifelong Australian cinematic hero who reflects all the best aspects of cheerful Aussie persistence, optimism and true one of a kind originality.
10. Ten Canoes – by Rolf de Heer and Peter Djiggir – indigenous, inspired, funny, fascinating and wholly absorbing. Makes one proud to live here and be part of this country as do Bran Nue Dae and The Sapphires.