Film studios continue waging war on piracy

New push to block pirate sites

Nine entertainment companies have joined forces in the latest push to block Australians from accessing websites allegedly associated with online piracy.

The group of companies, led by Village Roadshow, late last year lodged an application for injunction with the Federal Court, seeking to have major telcos block their customers from accessing 79 online locations [see full list below]. The list of targets the group seeks to block includes 99 associated domains.

Alongside Roadshow — which has been one of the most prolific users and outspoken advocates of Australia’s anti-piracy scheme — US film studios Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Universal, and Warner Bros. have joined the action. Australian distributor Madman is also an applicant.

The orders sought are modelled on those previously granted in response to previous applications. The telecommunications providers listed as respondents will be compelled to block access to a list of target online locations for a period of three years, using their choice of DNS, IP or URL blocking or any other method agreed to by the applicants.

Customers of five telcos will be affected if the injunction is granted: Telstra, Optus, Vocus, TPG and Vodafone. The telcos’ subsidiaries, including well-known ISPs such as iiNet, Internode, Dodo and iPrimus, will also be covered by the proposed court orders.

The application cites a range of copyright material: It lists 21 movies (including The Lego Movie, Cinderalla, Toy Story, Tron: Legacy and Kingsman: The Secret Service), as well as episodes of 'The Big Bang Theory', 'Shameless' and 'Dagashi Kashi'.

According to the application for injunction, the target sites offer illicit streaming or downloads of copyright material, or they link to other services that provide streaming or downloads.

In December, the same group of entertainment companies — joined by Tokyo Broadcasting System Television and Hong Kong’s Television Broadcasts Limited — successfully obtained the widest ranging site-blocking injunction so far, covering more than 150 domains. That injunction was notable for not only listing streaming, download and link sites, but also a number of sites that offered illicit downloads of subtitle files.

Australia’s parliament last year passed new laws to expand the scope of the website-blocking scheme. The legislation was granted Royal Assent on 10 December. It allows copyright owners and licensees to seek court orders forcing search engines to remove links to specified pirate sites from their indexes.

Another major change is that it expands the scope of sites that can be blocked. Previously only overseas-based sites that had as their “primary purpose” infringing or facilitating the infringement of copyright could be targeted. The new legislation allows sites that have the “primary effect” of infringing or facilitating the infringement of copyright to be blocked.

The government has said the aim is to target sites such as ‘cyber lockers’ that may not have been captured by the previous threshold test.

The current application by entertainment companies sticks to the previous “primary purpose” language, and doesn’t list any search engines as respondents.

The sites the entertainment companies are currently seeking to block are:;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

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Tags copyrightpiracyVillage Roadshowcopyright infringementsite blocking laws

More about AustraliaColumbia PicturesCustomersInternodeiPrimusOptusParamount PicturesTwentieth Century FoxVillage RoadshowVodafoneWarner Bros

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