Govt passes laws to block overseas piracy websites


Legislation to block overseas websites found to contain copyright infringing material, or facilitate access to copyright infringing material, has been passed by the Australian Senate.

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 passed with bipartisan support from Liberal and Labor, after passing the Lower House last week.

The new laws enable copyright holders to to apply to the Federal Court for an injunction requiring all Australian ISPs to block an overseas website facilitating piracy. Sites such as The Pirate Bay are expected to be blocked by the measures.

The Australian Greens voted against the laws along with 3 other senators. Senator Scott Ludlam was unsuccessful in moving amendments that would have narrowed the scope of the legislation, and completely rule out blocking VPN services.

“There is increasing evidence to suggest that site-blocking is not the most effective means of stopping piracy,” Senator Ludlam said.

“The only effective way to deal with copyright infringement on the kind of scale that the government is concerned about is to just make it available: conveniently, affordably and in a timely way.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission warned that film and TV companies could potentially threaten to block access to geoblocked services such as HBO Now.

Liberal Democrat Senator Leyonhjelm has also said that online sites and tools such as VPNs, cloud storage and URL shorteners could be mistakenly blocked.

“The bill is vaguely drafted and…aims to protect rights holders at everyone else’s expense, which is not how the rule of law is supposed to work,” he said. “There is no oversight or indemnities to track or protect against over blocking or other technical issues.”

But Simon Bush, head of the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association, said, “It’s a fantastic day and a really positive sign for the creative content industry who can invest more as a result.”

Foxtel Chief Executive, Richard Freudenstein said, “We are pleased that the Government and Opposition have taken strong action to combat online piracy. They recognise that, not only is piracy theft and therefore morally wrong, it is harmful to Australia’s creative communities and to businesses that employ hundreds of thousands of Australians.”

Soure: CNet, Fairfax, ZDNet


  1. Far from preventing downloading, these clueless moves will actually increase it, and be yet another nail in the coffin of the local broadcasters. I know a lot of people who to this point only shows that could not be accessed in Australia, the occasional episode they’d missed, or rarities otherwise unavailable on any platform. Now they have VPNs and the world is their oyster. They need never watch local TV again.

  2. I don’t understand why Labor also supported this policy, except that these big companies like 20th century fox, etc must make payments to both major parties(Liberal and Labor) re trying to stop people accessing material by “other means”.

  3. Here’s a better solution: Air it the same day as the U.S., then make it available to legally download/purchase online immediately after broadcast. It’s what consumers are clearly demanding if piracy stats are anything to go by, and rights holders could make a lot of money if this approach were adopted.

    • The download option should be discounted! The show(s) should be made available on region-free DVD and Blu-Ray disc formats and reasonable cost(not excessive, as Australians are charged) through “bricks-and-mortar” shops in the main shopping street or shopping centre. The internet should play no role in making the content available beyond displaying the “slick” for the title and info on where to buy it.

      • Am I reading this correctly – do you mean that consumers shouldn’t be able to buy media content online at all? So no iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, etc. The TV show/movie/song would just be advertised on the net and then you have to go and purchase a hard copy – which contributes to environmental pollution during manufacture, landfill issues, costs, inconvenience and massive delays to access content. If that’s what I think you’re saying I really hope that you are tongue in cheek.

  4. So does that mean commercial tv will eventually go back to showing a variety of American shows at decent times instead of all the reality crap?

  5. Michael Young

    “make it available: conveniently, affordably and in a timely way”
    That is the solution, because that is exactly why the problem exists!

  6. Another box ticked, placate Hollywood and Rupert….what’s next? Meanwhile in the real world, the money spent by Internet users in circumventing this censureship is going overseas and not into the cash registers of the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association’s clients. As we speak, the entire database of The Pirate Bay is being copied to a new IP Address. The game of catch-up continues.

  7. I wonder if the Government really thought about this action as having a reverse effect! People buying a VPN and been able to acquire anything, knowing that they can’t get caught. So now their activity has increased.

    It will be interesting to see a torrent poll 6 months after this is implemented to see Australians have decrease in downloads but other countries have increased.

  8. Lol, I guess I’ll just get a vpn then. They have tried this in the UK and it didn’t work. We need more people like Scott ludlam he has common sense. And of course foxtel is happy they still have a monopoly, GoT shoudnt be held so tightly by foxtel, they can’t even put got on presto

  9. So it only took a few hundred thousand dollars in donations to Labor and Liberal for Village Roadshow to get their law passed.

    I can’t describe how lowly I think of the media industry.

    Of course it doesn’t matter, since I now have a VPN to access content cheaply (not free), when it is released.

  10. Labor and Liberal are just as useless and reactionary as each other when it comes to the internet. This is stupid, obviously, and will be easy to get around if you have any technical know how… but it’s also a bit scary in that it’s so vague and broad that it could easily be abused.

  11. In unrelated news, sales of VPN services in Australia quadrupled in the month of June.

    Just like fast food restaurants stopped obesity by putting kJ information on their price board, this will completely stop piracy on the Internet. #dreaming

    • I have just taken out a subscription with a VPN – Spotflux Premium. I was worried it might be too technical and complicated but as soon as it downloaded it automatically changed my ISP address to New York and it starts automatically when I boot up. And it hasn’t slowed down my connection at all.

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