news A number of internet service providers (ISPs) have agreed to take a coordinated response to orders requesting website blocking over copyright infringement.
The move comes as a response discussions over Federal Court injunctions that are being sought, under Section 115A of the Copyright Act, to force ISPs to block overseas websites alleged to be facilitating content piracy in Australia. The injunction applications will be the first attempts to make use of the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act, passed by Federal Parliament in mid-2015.
The actions are being brought by Village Roadshow and Foxtel wishing to block websites, including the Pirate Bay and SolarMovie.
Now a group of ISPs – all members of the telco industry body Communications Alliance – have now prepared a consistent response to any prospective court order to block a website.
This coordinated action, the alliance said in a statement, is aimed to ensure that the court process is as “streamlined and expeditious” as possible, which in turn will help reduce costs and save the court’s time.
However, Australian Greens Communications Spokesperson, Senator Scott Ludlam, has called for copyright holders to dedicate their resources to making content more readily available instead of launching “yet another costly court proceeding”.
“Village Roadshow and other rights holders have been too slow to adapt to changing viewer habits, and again appear to be fighting progress with litigation instead of innovation,” Ludlam said.
“This attempt to block Australians’ access to SolarMovie will cost Village Roadshow tens of thousands of dollars, whether it is successful or not. If it is successful, it will cost an Australian user a couple of bucks a month for a VPN to circumvent the block,” he said.
The senator further suggested that the popularity of Netflix and “home-grown” services like Stan and Presto indicate the appetite Australians have for legitimate media sources.
“Instead of pouring money into the pursuit of downloaders and easily-defeated site blocking in the defence of a superseded business model, rights holders should be exploring new ways to give people simple and legal access to the material they want to watch,” Ludlam concluded.