Business News Digital Labels & Publishers Legal

Australian web-blocks slowly incoming, while German Supreme Court considers a first blockade

By | Published on Wednesday 5 August 2015


And from the web-block files today, rights owners in Australia have been told to get a move on with applying for injunctions to force internet service providers in the country to block piracy websites like The Pirate Bay, though mainly by critics of the new web-block law passed by the Australian parliament back in June.

Said critics are wondering why, given that the content industries stressed throughout their lobbying efforts that there was a real urgency to get web-blocking going in Australia, so far no applications for web-block injunctions have been filed.

Laurie Patton, CEO of Internet Australia, the local branch of the not-for-profit Internet Society, told Torrentfreak: “We are astounded, given the urgency with which this law was passed at the urging of the rights holders, that so far they haven’t bothered to use it. We would have thought that they’d have a raft of cases ready to go if the problem is that critical”.

We should note that preparation is very much underway by the Aussie content industries to apply for that first injunction, with Foxtel expected to be first to file, likely targeting the usual suspects like The Pirate Bay.

And given that these applications are being made under a brand new law, it’s not entirely unreasonable that rights owners are taking their time making sure they get everything right. Though the ISP-repping Communications Alliance says that said rights owners would be advised to also liaise with the net firms on how exactly web-blocks might work, and those conversations haven’t begun yet either.

Web-blocking has become a much favoured anti-piracy tactic of the music, movie and TV industries in those countries where web-block injunctions are available, despite the limitations with the approach. In some territories new laws have enabled the web-blocks, whereas in other jurisdictions – like the UK – judges have decided existing copyright law gives them the power to force blockades against piracy sites.

German collecting society GEMA has been busy trying to secure an injunction in its home country against digital locker links site under existing copyright laws there. It hasn’t succeeded in lower courts, but the matter is now with Germany’s Supreme Court, which has just said it will rule on the matter in November. If GEMA fails, you can expect lobbying efforts in Germany, as in Australia, to get a specific web-block system introduced by law.