Evaluating Australia's New Anti-Piracy Website Blocking Laws

Patrick Tyson

Abstract


In an attempt to tackle the pervasive problem of online copyright infringement, the Federal Parliament of Australia inserted s 115A into the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) in 2015. Section 115A essentially permits the Federal Court of Australia to order an Internet Service Provider to block access to an overseas website that has the primary purpose of infringing, or facilitating the infringement of, copyright. This article provides readers with an in-depth summary of the origins, legal context and scope of s 115A followed by an analysis of the way that it has been applied in the four cases to date. It also considers the accuracy of the two main criticisms of s 115A — that it can be too easily circumvented and that it is an improper substitute for the improved delivery of licensed copyright material to Australian consumers. It argues that copyright owners, rather than ISPs, will likely have to bear the costs of any injunction granted under s 115A and that the Federal Court of Australia has been alert to the need to balance a variety of interests in website blocking applications. This article concludes that although some criticisms of s 115A are justified, website blocking still has a legitimate role in reducing online copyright infringement in Australia.


Keywords


Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), Anti-Piracy law, website-blocking, Copyright Infringement

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