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back to article Big Content says Pirates of the Caribbean do their worst in Australia

A local market located “at the foothills of the Dandenongs, 25 km from Melbourne”, has been nominated as a major locus of DVD piracy by the MPAA. According to a letter to the US Trade Representative, the status of the Caribbean Garden and Markets is such that it alone should be enough reason for the USTR to add Australia to its …

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"In Australia it's legal to sell region-free DVD players"

IIRC it was, at one time, illegal to sell region-specific DVD players here - it was classed as a "restrictive trade practice". No doubt those days are long-gone.

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Re: "In Australia it's legal to sell region-free DVD players"

Well, now, to sell non-region locked players is probably a "restrictive trade practice"...so at least you still have the sentiment :-/

Soon, to sell players of any type will be restricted. In 10 years you'll probably have to download everything DRM riddled. No worries, if you can't afford a dongle for your TV and an internet connection, there will government subsidies to help you "get on your feet". Of course there will have to be tax hikes, of course.

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Re: "In Australia it's legal to sell region-free DVD players"

There will be tax hikes long before that. As this means no jobs, expect a government-provided one in a canned goods factory or something.

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Wait, Australia?

I'm tired, but I read the entire article believing this was Melbourne, China...which I didn't know existed.

Now that I understand it is Melbourne MELBOURNE, I feel like I'm being trolled. Is this article real or is the MPAA eating 10 strips for breakfast? Those numbers are ridiculously wrong. Maybe their Anti-Piracy Script Generator printed up too many zeroes, and named the wrong city and country. Hey, I've written buggier scripts :-/

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Hey Hollywood!

Make something worth paying to watch, and then people might actually start paying for it.

Remakes of re-imaginings of reboots of sequals to some piece of shite that you think audiences now may "get", when it was universally panned 10/15/20 years ago when you tried it the first few times, is NOT entertainment.

The only movies that have come out "recently" that I personally considered to be worth paying for, was 300, Watchmen, and Sin City. I thoroughly enjoyed those movies, all the others I have seen I simply consider to be "time fillers".

You'll get my money when you earn it, not because you demand it.

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Re: Hey Hollywood!

Looper, Brave, Wreck-It Ralph (loved it), Django Unchained, The Master, Moonrise Kingdom, Inception, The Campaign, Silver Linings Playbook, Trance, Life of Pi, Captain Phillips (great film) and Flight (Denzel should have won the Oscar), you could also throw in Les Miserables, for actually singing in a musical.

While some have been based on other formats (just like 300, Watchmen and Sin City), they have not been sequels or blatant rehashes of formulaic tick box plots, and are films I have actually seen in the last 12 months or so (I’m sure there are more I haven’t seen that equally fit the bill) add to that well executed but ultimately based on previous incarnations, like Skyfall and the recent Star Trek films I have been quite happy with the output of Hollywood.

If you haven’t seen a film you felt worth your money since 2009 (Watchmen) I suggest you maybe chose what films you see a bit better, maybe try something not based on a comic book.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hey Hollywood!

That's interesting I haven't watched 'The Watchmen' nor 'Sin City' yet.

Thanks for the recommendation, I will download them from the PirateBay immediately.

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Re: Hey Hollywood!

"Make something worth paying to watch, and then people might actually start paying for it."

Occasionally they do, and I do pay for them.

_Occasionally_

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Anonymous Coward

The industry term is "greedy f---ing assholes"

> You're a bit of a computer geek. You must have been there, too?

Oh, I understand that -- I steal music too, I'm not gonna say I don't. But it's tough not to resent people for doing it when you're the guy making the music, that would like to reap a benefit from that. On the other hand, you got record labels that are doing everything they can to piss people off and rip them off. I created a little issue down here because the first thing I did when I got to Sydney is I walk into HMV, the week the record's out, and I see it on the rack with a bunch of other releases. And every release I see: $21.99, $22.99, $24.99. And ours doesn't have a sticker on it. I look close and 'Oh, it's $34.99'. So I walk over to see our live DVD Beside You in Time, and I see that it's also priced six, seven, eight dollars more than every other disc on there. And I can't figure out why that would be.

> Did you have a word to anyone?

Well, in Brisbane I end up meeting and greeting some record label people, who are pleasant enough, and one of them is a sales guy, so I say "Why is this the case?" He goes "Because your packaging is a lot more expensive". I know how much the packaging costs -- it costs me, not them, it costs me 83 cents more to have a CD with the colour-changing ink on it. I'm taking the hit on that, not them. So I said "Well, it doesn't cost $10 more". "Ah, well, you're right, it doesn't. Basically it's because we know you've got a core audience that's gonna buy whatever we put out, so we can charge more for that. It's the pop stuff we have to discount to get people to buy it. True fans will pay whatever". And I just said "That's the most insulting thing I've heard. I've garnered a core audience that you feel it's OK to rip off? F--- you'. That's also why you don't see any label people here, 'cos I said 'F--- you people. Stay out of my f---ing show. If you wanna come, pay the ticket like anyone else. F--- you guys". They're thieves. I don't blame people for stealing music if this is the kind of s--- that they pull off.

> Where does that extra $10 on your album go?

That money's not going into my pocket, I can promise you that. It's just these guys who have f---ed themselves out of a job essentially, that now take it out on ripping off the public. I've got a battle where I'm trying to put out quality material that matters and I've got fans that feel it's their right to steal it and I've got a company that's so bureaucratic and clumsy and ignorant and behind the times they don't know what to do, so they rip the people off.

From;

Q & A with Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, May 17, 2007

See also;

Nails frontman urges fans to steal music, September 18, 2007

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Coat

"A local market located ...."

I like that.

(The one with the pocket guide to etymology in the pocket.)

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Re: "A local market located ...."

A local market for local people

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Look at the tables outside DVD stores in London, Paris etc which are heaving with shonky product. Police walk straight past.

I tried to buy local product once, but I was tied up by a couple with pointy noses and sharp teeth.

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Pirate

This might be the last thing they push

They better be careful for what they wish for. Cultural discrimination in Australia can result in huge bankruptcy inducing fines. Region blocking is cultural discrimination unless the content is made available.

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Pirate

Interesting

So much content just one stop down the M3 from me! I'll have to take a look!

Does anyone else think it slightly sad that Australia's internet is so bad that people are still pirating physical DVDs?

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Re: Interesting

"Does anyone else think it slightly sad that Australia's internet is so bad that people are still pirating physical DVDs?"

Yes sad, but that nice Mr Abbot's interthing will make it all better for us, won't it?

But their not (generally) pirating physical DVDs. What they're doing is BUYING Region 1 DVDs and then selling them in a country the MPAA doesn't want them to. After all, why should Australians get the chance to buy a DVD at the same time as mekins and for only a little more money when Hollywood wants them to buy them a year or so later at three times the price.

Gotta love the removal of 'restrictive trade practices' by giving us region free players but only allowing us to buy Region 4 DVDs to play on them.

bar stewards, every one of them

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Caribbean Garden and Markets

Ha!

An old stomping ground.

Those guys have been selling 'tat and bodge' since the 70's.

The place started life as water ski area, come poor man's Disneyland (a very very poor man too)

That failed so it became a market.

It's always sold just about anything you can buy, legal or maybe not....

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Meh

Why not treat us like China then?

Here's the thing . . .

If 'piracy' (term used for convenience, not accuracy) in Australia is really on par with China then why aren't the studios using the same tactics as they do in China, which is to:

  • Dramatically drop the price of DVDs
  • Release DVDs much sooner after the theatrical release

Software vendors have done likewise (though obviously release date is irrelevant).

As I mentioned when commenting on a previous article, while I, personally, do not pirate content*, I really believe that piracy should be considered a market factor that informs these companies' pricing and scheduling decisions.

It certainly is for China, India and Russia; three regions that have been identified as having high levels of piracy. So, if you are going to add Australia to that list then why not roll-out the same tactics?

The high prices in Australia are essentially justified as 'what the market will bear'. I see piracy as a strong indication that the market is not bearing those prices. Piracy is illegal. However, the assumption of 'big content' is that every pirated movie/album/game would have actually been a full, retail sale otherwise. That's just bonkers.

In my mind, there are two ways to interpret piracy figures. One is that those figures represent people who would have bought the content at full RRP but instead pirated it. The other is that those people would not have bought the content at current RRP regardless of the availability of a pirated version. Media companies and lobby groups always (publicly) proclaim the former but I think they should instead assume the latter and adjust their prices accordingly.

Either that or they should just shut up with their overblown rhetoric and inflated figures, because I am getting sick of their bleating and hand-wringing.

* - Like many people, I did download some music when I was younger, but, (again, like many,) that actually prompted me to buy more CDs - I've bought entire back catalogues of artists I discovered through downloading MP3s. Regardless, I haven't done that for a decade and never downloaded movies or TV shows. Music is very much a try-and-buy (that's the purpose of radio, after all!) but movies you often only watch them once or twice so I suspect the number of people who buy movies after downloading them is much smaller than the number who do so with music.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not treat us like China then?

"I am getting sick of their bleating"

And we're getting sick of yours. There isn't a single credible study that shows music piracy increases sales. Not one. Piracy distorts the market an the price.

All that said it's up to the industries to stop bleating and provide legal download services - which they haven't done in Australia.

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Re: Why not treat us like China then?

"Piracy distorts the market an the price."

Your chutzpa is admirable, AC, but it sounds very much like Al Capone moaning about legal sales of alcohol distorting his speakeasy market and prices.

In reality, it is your cartel's anti-competitive behaviour (of which region-coding is one of the most blatant) that is distorting the market, which is naturally seeking to correct itself.

Your industry's questionable trading practices are only considered legal because of it's even more questionable "lobbying" practices...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not treat us like China then?

Keep it up Vladimir, you get better through repetition. I also find that the angrier you get, and the more inflammatory your rhetoric, the more persuasive you are.

Cartel - check

Gangster reference - check

Anti-competitive - check

Questionable trading practices - check

Lobbying conspiracy - check

You really don't come across as mad at all.

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Re: Why not treat us like China then?

"Cartel - check

Gangster reference - check

Anti-competitive - check

Questionable trading practices - check

Lobbying conspiracy - check"

Well, you got it pretty much spot on. Except the last one. There is no conspiracy, that's just how it works.

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Re: Why not treat us like China then?

Why won't you start with explaining how is region coding *not* a cartel arrangement and how is that *not* an anti-competitive practice?

You may find the following helpful as a guide:

"A cartel is a formal (explicit) "agreement" among competing firms. It is a formal organization of producers and manufacturers that agree to fix prices, marketing, and production. Cartels usually occur in an oligopolistic industry, where the number of sellers is small (usually because barriers to entry, most notably startup costs, are high) and the products being traded are usually homogeneous. Cartel members may agree on such matters as price fixing, total industry output, market shares, allocation of customers, allocation of territories, bid rigging, establishment of common sales agencies, and the division of profits or combination of these. The aim of such collusion (also called the cartel agreement) is to increase individual members' profits by reducing competition."

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Re: Why not treat us like China then?

Remember that "pirating" probably includes parallel imports of stuff from other English speaking countries where prices are cheaper than Australia. 1 Australian Dollar is approximately equal to 1 US Dollar, but from the prices they charge in Australia, you would think it was more like 40 US cents.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why not treat us like China then?

What a surprise, Vladimir has forgotten to take his meds again.

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Re: Why not treat us like China then?

> There isn't a single credible study that shows music piracy increases sales. Not one.

According to the BSA, Microsoft and UC Berkeley piracy does increase sales;

How Piracy Opens Doors for Windows, April 09, 2006

"Although about 3 million computers get sold every year in China, people don't pay for the software. Someday they will, though," Gates told an audience at the University of Washington. "And as long as they're going to steal it, we want them to steal ours. They'll get sort of addicted, and then we'll somehow figure out how to collect sometime in the next decade."

That's exactly what has happened around the globe, according to the Business Software Alliance, a Microsoft-backed anti-piracy group. Even Vietnam, which at more than 90% has the highest piracy rate in the world, has improved from 100% in 1994. The No. 1 software firm in Vietnam: Microsoft.

Closer to the company's Redmond, Wash., headquarters, the decline of piracy in the United States has tracked Microsoft's rise. Stratospheric 25 years ago, the U.S. piracy rate dropped to 31% in 1994, then to 21% in 2004 -- the lowest in the world.

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Stupidity

Yawn - once again the MPAA show that they have no concept of the value of their products or any clue about marketing. Basic economics theory say that they have the pricing wrong but do they care? Nope, let's just wave a big stick and demand our "rights"

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...being ignored by state and federal police “despite multiple entreaties by rights holders”

I expect the usual has happened, the various MAFIAA type organizations have come wading in too strong, demanding this and that, thereby pissing off the national and local plod, who then feel there's no need to be hasty about an "issue" that's not actually risking anyone's life or limb.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: ...being ignored by state and federal police “despite multiple entreaties by rights holders”

I think what you mean is they expected the usual after wading in and demanding this and that. But failed to remember they were in Oz where the prime minister kindly told them to go fuck themselves.

Honestly if I were in Oz I'd probably pirte too, I mean look at the prices they're expected to pay for things compared to the rest of the world, it's absurd. Not to mention the fact they tend to get half the products several weeks / months later. (mostly refering to the games market here)

As a note, and for why I'm anon, I used to pirate TV shows and movies. But strangely not music. I'd pirate TV shows because buying them on DVD / VHS was prohibitavely expensive and nobody in their right mind, save a diehard fan would do so. As for movies I was of the mind that I'm paying the cost of a DVD to watch a film in the cinema was absurdly expensive. So instead chose to download and watch said film, and buy the DVD if it was worth it.

I haven't been to the cinema where I've had to pay for a ticket in about 7 years now.

As a note, I no longer download as I have access to a service I feel is exceptionally good value for money (netflix)

I have never illegally downloaded videogames as they actually provided another service I thought was rather good value for money (not so much anymore now PC games cost almost as much as console but that's what the steam summer sale is for)

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Re: ...being ignored by state and federal police “despite multiple entreaties by rights holders”

That's more or less how Canada ended up on their list.

Do what we say, or we will put you on the list!

Oh No, Not the List! Yawn, Zzzzzzzzzzzz

They said they would stop making movies in Canada, but it's still cheaper so they still make them here.

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As a friend said to me...

...he'll stop buying pirated DVDs the day Hollywood can't afford to pay Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, et. al. all the $$$$$$$$$ they do. Until then, he'll continue to opt for the cheaper version.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: As a friend said to me...

What a pathetic post.

I wonder if your "friend" would wash toilets for free? If you use it, pay for it. Pretty simples.

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Re: As a friend said to me...

Deal with it, AC.

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Re: As a friend said to me...

I think the ACs opening line was self descriptive.

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K
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Awesome..

Now I know where to go get my DVD's from!

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Region 4 locked DVD players and DVDs and consoles used to be all the rage about 12 years ago. Then some bright spark in the retail industry stood up and announced that region locking in Australia was a restraint of trade and took the government to court over it... I think that it was originally over PS/2 games moreso than DVDs.

Since the court found in his favour, and people have discovered shopping online, region locking kit has gone the way of the dodo.

Saying that, more people are shopping online for their DVDs and Blurays makes me wonder whether the MPAA is counting those sales as being Australian sales or for sales in the country of origin (usually the USA). That trend in online buying could tend to skew the figures for sales in Australia and allow the MPAA to say that piracy is rife in Australia. If they lowered their prices and shipped stuff when the rest of the world gets it, things wouldnt be so bad in Oz...

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Australia circa 2001, I went to buy a DVD player. Since I watch a lot of anime (and in those days the only to get them was on NTSC tapes from fans overseas), I already had a multi-system TV and VCR. So naturally I wanted a multi-system DVD player.

I eventually found one at a reasonable price, with the salesman telling me that it was not only multi-system but multi-region as well (note that this is *before* that specific law was passed). Since I was planning on buying discs from overseas, I bought the DVD player. At which point the salesman reached under the counter and pulled out a photocopy of the manufacturer's repair manual detailing the sequence of buttons to press to set (or completely wipe) the region setting on the DVD. Completely illegal at the time.

Moral of this story: we're a land originally made up of crooks, thieves and rebels. While we won't go out of our way to do you out of your fair due, we'll have no compunction about circumventing "restrictions" if we don't believe your dues are "fair". You have to live down here for a while to get the feel of it, but it's oddly true; your average Australians *will* pay high prices IF THEY FEEL IT'S RIGHT. But heaven help you if they feel you're taking advantage of them.

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@Dramoth

- 10,000 copies bought in Australia

- 20,000 copies bought OS by Australians

- 10,000 copies pirated by Australians

MPAA claim 50% piracy (10K vs 10K), real number is 25% piracy (10K vs 30K).

Is that what you mean?

If so then I reckon you are probably on the money, as was jonathanb above, where he said: "Remember that "pirating" probably includes parallel imports of stuff from other English speaking countries where prices are cheaper than Australia."

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I would say it's more likely to be:

- 30,000 bought in shops by Australians

- 20,000 bought online from overseas

- 10,000 pirated

making it (in the MPAA's mind, at least) 50% legitimate, 50% prated. After all, only a PIRATE would try to buy something from a country he didn't live in (unless it's a US company buying labour, of course!)

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"The MPAA's complaint to the USTR comes as Australia's new attorney-general is reportedly hoping to revive the idea that Internet service providers should be responsible for copyright enforcement."

Coincidence? Yes, of course it is, silly.

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Wait. I see envelopes. They are made of paper. They are brown. Oh, and they are changing hands! Mwahahahaha!

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Anonymous Coward

It's a big buck conspiracy to make you pay for stuff!

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@AC

You will have noticed, AC, that the alleged "piracy" is the sale of legitimately produced DVDs, only outside of their arbitrarily determined, restrictive "regions". As the DVDs in question are originally sourced from their licensed manufacturers, the IP owners should have no grounds for complaints - they are getting paid anyway.

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Re: @AC

" the IP owners should have no grounds for complaints - they are getting paid anyway."

Not at all. Why should they settle for being paid loads of money when they can hold out for loads and loads of money?

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Overpriced...

Media tends to be massively overpriced in Australia compared to other countries, and then there are artificial barriers in place to try and prevent Australians from buying cheaper copies from foreign countries. Is it any wonder then that people are pissed off and turn to alternative sources?

Screw your customers and they will stop buying your product, and if they cant get it from other sources they will do without it at all rather than feel cheated by exorbitant prices.

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Anonymous Coward

Alternative methods

Relying on my non-regional DVD player, I just import whatever DVDs I like through the post.

Buying from a retail store overseas that delivers to my door is pretty easy to find and the cost + postage after exchange rates are all calculated works out to be about 75% of the cost of buying from a local retailer.

I love paypal.

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Happy

Carribean Gardens? There's a name I have not heard for a long time...

It is a big car boot sale with independant traders selling there own stuff and yes bootlegs and piracy has always been a problem there dating back since it opened almost.

I have spent a couple of hundred dollars in the past couple of months on import DVDs on titles that are not available in Australia. Attempting to buy the same titles from local retailers means you pay at least double for example the Warner Archive DVD-R movies are being sold at $40AUD where you can buy them for $9 online. Other markups are just obscene and are just the stores being greedy.

PAL and the Office of Film and Literature Classification are always used as an excuse to why the Region 4 releases for DVDs never get the same content, it is nonsense. The same with Bluray since Sony owns the format and it is hard to find multi region players.

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Self Inflicted

I’m not the only one who could have saved the MPAA a lot of time and angst byt telling them that region encoding is not only evil, it is self destructive.

I have legally bought DVDs from 4 different regions and do not appreciate being told that what I have done is immoral or illegal.My DVD player doesn’t care, and neither should anybody else.

My computer, on the other hand, is being much more fascist about it, so I need an unlocked copy. My preference is, of course, for a legal copy, but what is one to do if the only option is an illegal copy?

MPAA, if you are reading this, the solution is really really easy: unlock DVDs, price them more reasonably, make them more available, and sit back and rake in the increased revenue.

What sort of moron makes their products increasingly harder to buy and harder to use, and laments over how hard it is to sell them?

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"The Dandenongs are an outlying region of Melbourne"

And so they are, but "at the foothills" is not "in the mountains". The "Carribbean Gardens" are located on a flood plane, which is below the river valley, which is below the foothills, which are below the Dandenong mountains.

Rowville is a an outlying suburb of Melbourne, but it's not a seperate region, and it's not as far outlying as the Dandenongs.

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Anonymous Coward

Posting Anon not because I don't like the MPAA, but more because I don't TRUST the MPAA :)

I used to download not movies, but TV shows. I don't for a lot of them now, because Foxtel (Australian version of Sky) have started getting with the times and offering all the main US TV shows 24 hours after they show in the US!

So before, where you were waiting months in the vain hope that you might eventually get to watch that great new TV show, usually to the point where the entire season would finish in the US before the first episode gets shown down under, and internet blogs have spammed every damn spoiler, you can now quite happily watch said show 24 hours after the good ol' USA gets to watch it.

I suddenly found that I didn't have to download many TV shows anymore, I could watch them at the same time as the rest of the world, and as I have the IQ2 box which lets me record the shows, I could even watch them again and again!

But no, we are all stinking filthy pirates aren't we Mr MPAA, not worth tounging the shitty remains off your boots are we, you scum sucking bunch of tards. Remove head from arse, and figure out that your own restrictive practices are the majority reason Australia are such happy pirates.

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