Senate passes anti-piracy measures which allow rights holders to block copyright infringing sites

The Senate has tonight passed new legislation that will allow rights holders to go court to block overseas websites, like The Pirate Bay, that contain or give access to copyright infringing material.

The controversial legislation passed with the support of the Coalition and Labor 37-13.  The Greens and independent Senators Lazarus, Muir and Leyonhjelm opposed the laws.

Under the new legislation a rights holder can apply to a federal court judge for a blocking request, if successful then ISPs, such as Telstra, Optus and iiNet, will need to comply with the order by disabling access to the IP address.

Greens spokesman Scott Ludlam on broadband issues tweeted during the vote, writing: “what your senate thinks of open-ended website blocking on behalf of foreign rights holder.”

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Nielsen-1ZDNet reports that sites such as The Pirate Bay and KickAssTorrents, which are among the most popular websites for allowing people to download movies and TV shows online without paying, are expected to be among the first websites targeted by copyright holders.

An investigation by Mumbrella, last year, revealed that many of these sites were being advertised on inadvertently by Australian media agencies and major brands with Nielsen reporting that the biggest of these sites were drawing up to 1.4m Australians every month.

The new laws have been welcomed by pay-TV operator and major rights holder Foxtel with its CEO Richard Freudenstein arguing the changes would help Australian jobs.

“We are pleased that the Government and Opposition have taken strong action to combat online piracy,” said Freudenstein.

“They recognise that, not only is piracy theft and therefore morally wrong, it is harmful to Australia’s creative communities and to businesses that employ hundreds of thousands of Australians.

“These offshore sites are not operated by noble spirits fighting for the freedom of the internet, they are run by criminals who profit from stealing other people’s creative endeavours.”


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