ISPs to have coordinated response to website blocking

First use of anti-piracy legislation

Internet service providers that will be affected by prospective Federal Court injunctions ordering them to block subscriber access to specified piracy-linked websites are moving to ensure the process is as streamlined as possible.

Industry body Communications Alliance has released a statement indicating a number of its members that will be affected by moves from Village Roadshow and Foxtel to obtain court orders compelling them to block websites, including the Pirate Bay and SolarMovie, “have prepared a consistent response to a prospective court order to block a website”.

ISPs and representatives of rights holders have been in discussions over the court action, Communications Alliance said.

Last year the government introduced and passed the anti-piracy legislation the legislation allows rights holders to seek website-blocking injunctions.

During a parliamentary inquiry into the legislation, Communications Alliance indicated it saw a role for a potential website-blocking mechanism.

Village’s and Foxtel’s moves to obtain injunctions come in the wake of telcos and rights holders being unable to finalise a copyright notice scheme that would see alleged illicit downloaders be sent a series of warning notices.

The attempt to impose website blocks also come after the long-running, piracy-related Dallas Buyers Club court saga came to an end.

The coordination between ISPs “aims to ensure that the court process is as streamlined and expeditious as possible, which in turn will help reduce costs and also save the Court’s time,” said the Communications Alliance statement issued today.

ISPs are not liable for costs unless they seek to oppose an application for a site-blocking injunction.

“International experience has shown that site-blocking is more of a PR stunt than an effective solution to the unlawful downloading of content,” Internet Australia CEO Laurie Patton said.

“You close them down and they reappear in no time on another site.”

“It would be in the best interests of content producers, as opposed to content distributors, if we all accepted that the main reason why most people unlawfully download is that they can’t get what they want through legitimate channels,” Patton said.

“There is ample research evidence that people are willing to pay if they can get the content they’re after. In fact, surveys show that the people who ‘pirate’ are also among the most active legal downloaders.”