Senate in Australia Approves Controversial Anti-Piracy Law Despite Controversy
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  • Environment and Communications Legislation Committee of the Australian Senate has approved amendments to the country’s copyright law.
  • The recent amendments raised controversy due to the shift in power to the hands of copyright holders.
  • Amendments will be made only after two years of the new rule being in effect.

The anti-piracy law that saw search engines like Google being surrounded by controversy and criticism in Australia has been approved by the Environment and Communications Legislation Committee of the Senate. Matthew Rimmer who is a professor of Intellectual Property and Innovation Law at the Faculty of Law, at the Queensland University of Technology opposed the move and submitted a petition to the committee which was disproved.

The committee released a report stating that it “is of the view that the measures are appropriately circumscribed. In particular, the committee notes the evidence that the Court would maintain ultimate oversight over these injunctions, as well as the evidence that there must a sufficient nexus between the online location covered by the original injunction and the location to which the order is expanded.

There are a number of flaws in the Section 115a of Australia’s Copyright Act, which essentially offers copyright holders full power over injunctions to force ISPs into blocking websites. It has been pointed out that blocking entire domains means that not only do the infringing URLs are blocked, but the entire domain names themselves. As this can lead to abuse of power, amendments were suggested. Copyright holders will have full power over adaptive measures they may choose to take against infringing websites. The committee believes that there are enough safeguards in place to prevent the law from being abused.

However, it seems like there will be no amendments to the law as the Senate has decided that changes will be discussed only two years after the law is in effect. Similar copyright laws have proposed in the United States but they were promptly rejected. However, Australia is handling things differently.

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