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News Corp CEO Shines Spotlight on Piracy in Australia

Robert Thomson - News Corp - Dow Jones - Wall Street Journal

Robert Thomson told a Goldman Sachs conference audience that 16 percent of all "Breaking Bad" downloads take place Down Under, and joked "there aren't that many Australians."

Piracy is a particularly onerous problem in Australia, News Corp CEO Robert Thomson said Tuesday.

Sixteen percent of all illegal downloads of Breaking Bad take place in Australia, Thomson told attendees at the Goldman Sachs 22nd Annual Communacopia Conference in New York. "There aren't that many Australians," he joked.

Perhaps more striking, 20 percent of Foxtel subscribers watch Game of Thrones illegally via piracy, even though they have legal access through Foxtel.

"Piracy in Australia is at an extraordinary level," he said. People not only don't understand the value of content in Australia, he said, but also choose to disregard what he called "the inherent value of obeying the law."

He added: "I think people are just in the habit of illegal downloads ... speaking as an Australian, Australians have various bad habits -- piracy habits being one of them."