27 September 2023

Jolly new laws to pick bones with pirates

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New laws clamping down on internet pirates who steal copyrighted Australian film, television and other material have been introduced into the Federal Parliament.

Minister for Communications and the Arts, Senator Mitch Fifield said the aim of the legislation was to give creative industries even more powerful weapons to fight copyright infringement by overseas pirate websites.

“The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2018 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,” Senator Fifield said.

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

He said the website blocking scheme had been successful in reducing copyright infringement and the changes would further strengthen it.

“Downloading or streaming a pirated movie or TV show is no different to stealing a DVD from a shop,” Senator Fifield said.

“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.”

He said that currently, the Federal Court could issue orders for Internet Service Providers to block access to infringing websites.

The new legislation will ensure a broader range of overseas websites and file-hosting services widely used for sharing music and movies will come within the scope of the scheme.

It provides a means for proxy and mirror pirate sites to be blocked quickly.

Senator Fifield said the amendments would also empower copyright owners further to seek Federal Court orders requiring search engines to demote or remove search results for infringing sites.

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