Court orders ISPs to block piracy sites

In a landmark ruling, the Federal Court has ordered internet service providers (ISPs) to block five piracy websites, including The Pirate Bay.

ISPs must take “reasonable steps” within the next 15 business days to disable access to The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, Torent Hound, Isohunt and Solar Movie.

The court’s decision is the result of two proceedings brought by applicants Foxtel and Roadshow Films, judged at the same time.

The telcos can choose how they block the sites, whether through DNS blocking, IP blocking, URL blocking or another mutually agreed upon method.  

However, the rights holders must pay the cost of blocking the sites. Justice Nicholas ruled that Roadshow Films pay compliance costs for Telstra, Optus, M2 and TPG calculated at the rate of $50 per domain name blocked. Foxtel must pay Optus’ compliance costs at the rate of $1,500, and Telstra’s and TPG’s at $50 per domain name.

If a site resurfaces under a new URL, domain name or IP address, a new affidavit would need to be filed and served.

Foxtel chief executive Peter Tonagh welcomed the court’s decision, saying that “piracy does great damage to Australia’s content creating industries and we were delighted that the Government and Parliament recognised this by passing these new legislative provisions last year.

“This judgment is a major step in both directly combating piracy and educating the public that accessing content through these sites is not OK, in fact it is theft."

“We are playing our part to reduce the attractiveness of piracy by making content available in a timely manner, at different price points, and on multiple devices.

“More broadly, the content creation industries will continue to educate the public on the harm piracy does and how to get access to content in a legitimate manner.”

Tonagh said the judgement was another tool to fight the “international criminals who seek to profit from the hard work of actors, writers, directors and other creators the world over.”

“We have already seen successful implementation of similar site blocking efforts overseas and are looking forward to a reduction in online piracy here.”