New laws passed on Monday can block Australian access to websites like The Pirate Bay, which allow users to download music, TV and new on VOD movies for free. Companies that hold the copyright to pirated content can now apply to the Federal Court to have international “pirate” websites blocked by Australian ISPs.
If the court applications are successful, the ISPs will have to ban access to the infringing websites, the SMH reports, in a similar way to which ISPs in countries like China block access to outside websites such as Facebook.
But online experts are concerned that the new laws are too far-reaching and broadly defined, and do not tackle the root causes of online piracy in Australia. Intellectual Property Law professor Dr Matthew Rimmer said the new laws were “quite radical” and could be used to block a whole range of websites unrelated to online piracy.
Australian Greens Senator Scott Ludlam has also attacked the bill as “lazy and dangerous”, adding that, “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.”
Both the Coalition and Labor supported The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015, with only the Greens and Senators David Leyonhjelm, Glenn Lazarus and Ricky Muir opposing the bill. Simon Bush of the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association, which has long advocated blocking “pirate” websites, described the new law as, “a fantastic day and a really positive sign for the creative content industry.”
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