Feeds

Apple exec says music labels, Hollywood, 'old fashioned' on copyright

Head of Apple Australia says music, movies, price gouging is Big Content's fault

The Power of One Infographic

The head of Apple's Australian operations, Tony King, has told an Australian Parliamentary inquiry into information technology pricing that rights holders of music and filmed entertainment have an “old fashioned” attitude to retailing.

Australia is running the inquiry to figure out why locals often pay more for software, digital content and hardware. Apple products often cost more in Australian dollars than in US dollars, despite Australia's currency being worth $US1.04 at the time of writing. Songs on iTunes Australia often cost $AUD1.69. The same track is usually $US0.99.

“A song is an asset, a piece of intellectual property,” King said when asked to explain why Australians pay more for music and movies. “The rights associated with that song may change from territory to territory” and in Australia the rights holders charge more. King said he believes, based on retail prices, that rights holders charge digital and physical retailers about the same fees to resell music and filmed content. He also insisted Apple does not have more negotiating muscle with local rights holders and that its market share does not give it leverage to drive local prices down to a level comparable with lower prices offered elsewhere on the planet.

King then offered the interesting observation that “In this digital age the content industry still runs with old fashioned notions of country borders, or territories, or markets.” Rights holders' insistence on pricing differently in each market, he said, is the reason digital content costs more in Australia than elsewhere.

“The consequence is we need to set up iTunes stores around the world,” King said. “That'ss the nature of the industry in which iTunes exists.

Apple Australia's Tony King appears before the House Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications Inquiry into IT Pricing

Apple Australia's Tony King appears before Inquiry into IT Pricing

Pressed on why those costs are higher in Australia, King said the inquiry should ask rights holders directly, and not just their industry associations.

King's also said that Apple wants lower content prices and tries to achieve global parity pricing for its own software. In Australia last week, he said, software prices were one per cent lower than US software prices.

On hardware, he said prices are set based on exchange rates at the time of launch. Price adjustment for week-in, week-out, exchange rates is not feasible and would confuse consumers, he said. It's also important to note, he told the committee, that $US prices don't include local sales taxes, while prices in Australia must include the 10 per cent goods and services tax.

King did, however, say “We hold the price until we transition or update the product”. That means a product released before a favourable exchange rate fluctuation will remain at a price far higher than should be the case.

Even with those factors in place, he said, Apple's analysis of its prices shows that last week Australian prices are only up to five per cent higher in Australia than the USA.

Asked why Apple has not yet appeared before the inquiry, King said “It is rare Apple makes a public appearance to discuss public policy matters.”

Adobe and Microsoft will appear before the inquiry later today. ®

The Power of One Brief: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Sit back down, Julian Assange™, you're not going anywhere just yet
Swedish court refuses to withdraw arrest warrant
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
MPs wave through Blighty's 'EMERGENCY' surveillance laws
Only 49 politcos voted against DRIP bill
EU's top data cops to meet Google, Microsoft et al over 'right to be forgotten'
Plan to hammer out 'coherent' guidelines. Good luck chaps!
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
Delaware pair nabbed for getting saucy atop Mexican eatery
Burrito meets soft taco in alleged rooftop romp outrage
LightSquared backer sues FCC over spectrum shindy
Why, we might as well have been buying AIR
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.