Taking the fight to online pirates

The Australian Government is cracking down on online pirates today by giving creative industries even more powerful weapons to fight copyright infringement by overseas pirate websites.

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2018 – which will be introduced into Parliament today – strengthens the existing, successful website blocking scheme introduced by the Government in 2015 by allowing more pirate websites to be targeted and making it harder for pirates to circumvent blocking measures.

Online piracy hurts Australia’s creative industries and is particularly damaging to our local film and television production sector.

Minister for Communications and the Arts, Senator Mitch Fifield, said Australia’s website blocking scheme had been successful in reducing copyright infringement and these changes would further strengthen it.

“Online piracy is theft. Downloading or streaming a pirated movie or TV show is no different to stealing a DVD from a shop,” he said.

“The Government is providing enormous support to creative industries, including through small business tax relief and our Location Incentive program. We can’t have that good work undone by allowing local creators to be victims of online piracy.

“We are always looking at what more we can do, and we want copyright owners to have the right tools at their disposal to fight online piracy.”

Currently under the legislative framework, the Federal Court can issue orders for Internet Service Providers to block access to infringing websites.

The Copyright Amendment Bill will ensure a broader range of overseas websites and file-hosting services widely used for sharing music and movies are within the scope of the scheme, and provide a means for proxy and mirror pirate sites to be blocked quickly.

The amendments will also further empower copyright owners to seek Federal Court orders requiring search engines to demote or remove search results for infringing sites.

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