Internet filtering and combating copyright piracy online

On Thursday 15 December 2016 a decision from the Federal Court of Australia marked another turn in the saga of copyright owners combating illegal downloads of films and television shows. Major internet service providers (Telstra, Optus, M2 and TPG) are now compelled by injunction to block traffic to 61 websites within 15 business days after legal action from major film companies in reliance of s 115A of the Copyright Act.

Image: Let the whacking begin by Jeffrey Kontur CC BY-ND 2.0

The decision has been regarded with mixed opinions, falling along traditional battle lines. Rights holders declared the decision as a "major step in directly combating piracy",1 while internet user advocates described the action as "pointless" and a "publicity stunt".More balanced commentators have described the action as engaging in "whack-a-mole".3

Read more below:

  1. Pirating sites to be blocked after judge rules in movie studios' favour by Lucy Battersby. The Age, 16 December 2016.
  2. "We've been conned" | IA responds to "pointless" site-blocking move - Internet Australia Press Release, 15 December 2016.
  3. Will blocking file sharing website The Pirate Bay actually work? by Will Ockenden and Jake Sturmer. ABC News, 16 December 2016.
Image: Public domain CC0

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Peter Gray