Federal Court of Australia Approves Blocking Injunction for 86 Pirate Websites

  • Australian judge rules that 86 pirate sites must be blocked on the DNS level by all ISPs in the country.
  • If the pirates move elsewhere, the copyright holders will have to submit a new application for blockage.
  • Almost no site owners responded to the allegations, and all of them were deemed guilty of copyright infringement.

The Federal Court of Australia has approved an application that requested the blocking of 86 pirate websites and their corresponding 115 domains. The form was filled by a coalition of copyright holders and legal media streaming services such as the MPA, Netflix, Village Roadshow Films, Disney Enterprises, and various others. As a result, all fifty of the currently operational Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Australia will have to actively block the domains within 15 days, unless the owner of a blocked domain objects the decision formally.

The list of the domains is pretty long, and concerns torrent websites, subtitle locators, Popcorn Time downloaders, proxy finders, media streaming platforms, etc. The blocking will happen on the DNS (Domain Name System) level in Australia, which should be fairly easy to bypass by using a VPN or the Tor Network. If the pirates move to new domains, the applicants will have to go through the same process again to target them, as the current order isn’t covering “extended” or “dynamic” lists. All that said, we don’t believe that the blocking will be very effective, and it can only be considered a basic measure against piracy. As the Judge stated:

“It is apparent that the legislative intention is to facilitate, in appropriate cases, a more expeditious and less expensive means by which orders may be amended. Importantly, parliament did not intend, and the orders I propose to make do not permit, the applicants to bring new target online locations within the scope of the orders. Rather, the applicants may only seek to bring within the scope of the orders new domain names, IP Addresses or URLs for the 86 target online locations which are in issue in these proceedings. Should the applicants wish to block access to a new target online location, a separate application will need to be brought.”

The applicants have tried to reach out to the operators of the 86 websites before, but only Animelon.com’s responded to their notification. The owner of the anime video platform, Sarah Florian, said that the particular website was merely serving as an educational platform for people who wanted to learn the Japanese language and the anime culture and that she was making no profit from it. This explanation didn’t convince the court, doesn’t believe that this is a case of “fair use” for educational purposes, and thus the website will be blocked. All the rest were deemed illegal based on copyright infringement after the matter was discussed in court individually for each site.

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