Telstra has a role to play in finding a way to stop online piracy, according to CEO David Thodey, who has mostly stayed away from the debate.

“Piracy of content is theft,” he said in reply to a question during a media briefing on Telstra’s annual profit announcement.

“I hold a very strong view on that. You can’t justify it because of the price of content. A whole industry exists to create great content and it’s theft.”

Thodey says the question is how the industry, both content rights holders and the telco industry, can find a workable solution, on which is ubiquitous and fair.

“I think we’ve got to work through that,” Thodey says.

“I think it’s going to need strong collaboration.

“And if we can play a role that helps prevent theft, just like we do in any way to help law enforcement, we will because we are an Australian company subject to the laws of Australia and I think we need to take a positive attitude.”

So, Thodey says he can see problems with every solution.

“I don’t have an answer yet but I am willing to sit down and try to find an answer for the good for all Australians and that’s what we’re going to do as we move forward.”

The federal government last month released a discussion paper on online copyright infringement which includes a proposal to force internet service providers such as Telstra to stop users downloading content unlawfully.

Australia has one of the highest rates of online copyright piracy in the world, according to the federal government. And an estimated 200,000 Australians get around copyright geo-blocking to use the US-based service Netflix.