Last year, a Parliamentary Committee discovered that Australians pay much higher prices for software and other technology than consumers in other countries.
Now (well, last month), the Fairfax media claimed that Australians are paying much higher prices for fashion from overseas chains than they charge in their online stores too. Apparently, up to 35% more – although, looking at the unit prices, I wonder if that is before or after postage or delivery has been included.
Apparently inspired by this report, Senator Conroy, the Orwellian named Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, has acted to announce a new inquiry to be undertaken by the House of Representatives’ Standing Committee on Infrastructure and Communications.
Reports here and here.
According to that second report, someone trailed a coat on the issue last week when ACCC Commissioner Ed Willett appeared before the Joint Committee on the National Broadband Network.
Now, as a purchaser of digital files, I am hardly unbiased but it does seem hard to justify price differentials of 50% or more. Seems like there is economic reasoning that challenges the Gerry Harvey-esque explanations.
Only problem, almost 20 years ago, the Prices Surveillance Authority recommended (what became in effect) this provision and some record companies got into big trouble trying to circumvent their own corresponding provision, but it would seem nothing has changed. Gartner analyst, Brian Prentice, reported here might be on to something suggesting the problem is the territorial nature of copyright itself. A (copyright) world without borders. Imagine!