Australia passes anti-online piracy legislation

DetailsRebecca Hawkes | 23 June 2015

The film and television industry in Australia has hailed the passing of anti-piracy website-blocking legislation in the Senate as a "watershed moment".

Content producers will now be able to seek court injunctions blocking access to Australians to international sites that allow illegal downloads of TV shows, films or music as their "primary purpose".

Australian Internet service providers, such as Telstra and Optus, will have to comply with a judge's order and disable access to locations facilitating content piracy.
"This is a watershed moment," said Simon Bush, head of the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association.
"It's a fantastic day and a really positive sign for the creative content industry, who can invest more as a result."

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015, introduced to parliament by Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull in March, was passed into law on 22 June with support from the Coalition and Labor.

Richard Freudenstein, chief executive of pay-TV operator Foxtel, also welcomed the move.

"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.

"These offshore sites are not operated by noble spirits fighting for the freedom of the Internet, they are run by criminals who profit from stealing other people's creative endeavours," Freudenstein said in a statement.

The bill was opposed in the Senate by the Australian Green Party and Senators David Leyonhjelm, Glenn Lazarus and Ricky Muir."There is increasing evidence to suggest that site-blocking is not the most effective means of stopping piracy," Australian Greens' Senator Scott 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."