Console modification in the video game industry an empirical study of the technological protection measure reforms of the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)
thesisposted on 2017-05-15, 04:29 authored by Raval, Melchor Inigo
The Australian-United States Free Trade Agreement expanded the access rights provisions, including the technological protection measures (TPM) and anti-circumvention prohibitions in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), to address the unauthorised distribution of copyrighted content, colloquially referred to as piracy. Copyright users object to these "paracopyright" principles being implemented as criminal penalties and restrictive Digital Rights Management (DRM). Evidence that piracy has persisted despite the implementation of TPMs raises the question of the effectiveness of copyright as a control of piracy. The thesis examines through empirical methodologies the effectiveness of the access rights provisions of the Act that are required in light of persistent circumvention and piracy. To address this, a case study using video game console modification was undertaken as its functions highlight the issue of access restriction and cultural acceptance of DRM circumvention to access content illegally. More significantly, while console modification is defined by the video game industry as a gateway into piracy, video-gamers argue that it allows interoperable software and privately copied games to be accessed without restriction. A series of interviews and focus groups, comprising video game industry professionals and gamers, were conducted to highlight these opposing perspectives. The thesis found copyright as law is powerless in light of the cultural norms developed by internet users which accept console modification and piracy as a convention. The economic factors such as the high price of video games in Australia and technological advances in console modification and DRM mean a multifaceted approach to the re-adjustment is required. The thesis makes recommendations to achieve an acceptable re-adjustment through the recognition of cultural norms, and the introduction of business models that provide user-friendly solutions in accessing content.