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Site-blocking legislation passed

23 June, 2015
By Allison Orr

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015, introduced into Parliament by Malcolm Turnbull, has just been passed by the Australian Senate.  The Legislation passed 37 – 13 votes, and was supported by the Coalition and Labor, and opposed by The Greens and Senators Leyonhjelm, Lazarus and Muir.

The legislation allows for intellectual property rights holders to go to a Federal Court judge and get overseas websites blocked that have as their primary purpose facilitating copyright infringement.  The legislation covers sites hosted overseas, not locally hosted sites.

If the blocking request is successful, IPS will have to disable access to the site to Australian users.  So sites such as The Pirate Bay and KickAss Torrents may soon be blocked in Australia.  A landing page will be put up at blocked sites to notify users of the court order.

Unlike, for example, the legal case involving the Dallas Buyers Club, the legislation does not target pirates directly, but allows copyright holders to apply to block sites they believe are sharing copyrighted content.

It is unclear what the impact will be.  Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) can hide a user.s destination from an ISP, so those users would still be able to access content otherwise blocked in Australia. Moreover, sites like Pirate Bay have dealt with similar laws in Europe by moving their sites to a different IP address, informing their users of the move via social media.

Previously published in undefined.

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