Netflix’s First Pirate Site Blocking Application Granted in Australia
The rate at which ‘pirate’ sites are being blocked in various countries raises the question of how many more there are left to block.
The answer, it seems, is plenty more yet.
Back in May, yet another application filed in Australia’s Federal Court presented a unique feature – the inclusion of US-based streaming giant Netflix as one of the applicants.
This was the first time the company had appeared requesting a blocking application in the region, claiming infringement of its works Santa Clarita Diet and Stranger Things.
Netflix didn’t appear on its own. The application was headed by local movie giant Roadshow Films and supported by other prominent movie companies such as Disney Enterprises, Universal City Studios, Warner Bros., Television Broadcasts Limited, TVBO, and Madman Anime Group.
Together they demanded the blocking of over 130 domains related to close to 90 torrent, streaming, and similar sites by more than 50 local ISPs.
The claims were filed under Section 115a of Australia’s Copyright Act, which can grant injunctions to force local ISPs to prevent their subscribers from accessing overseas-based ‘infringing locations. It’s taken three months, but the content companies have now been successful.
This morning, Justice Thawley in the Federal Court ordered the respondents including Telstra, Optus, TPG, Vocus, and Vodafone, to take “reasonable steps to disable access to the Target Online Locations” within 15 business days. Each ISP will be handed AUS$50 per domain by the applicants to cover compliance costs.
In common with previous orders, the ISPs were given the option to utilize DNS, IP address, and/or URL blocking techniques (or any other technical means agreed in writing between them and the applications) to prevent access to the sites.
Of course, sites often decide to take countermeasures when orders such as this are handed down in order to circumvent blocking, so the order allows the studios to provide additional information so that these can be swiftly dealt with by the ISPs moving forward.
An updated/amended domain and URL list (there can be changes following an original application) is yet to appear in court records. However, the list of sites and domains in the original application can be viewed in our earlier report.
The order handed down this morning can be found here (pdf)