Section 115a of Australia’s Copyright Act, which provides a mechanism for rightsholders to have ‘pirate’ sites blocked by ISPs, was long campaigned for as an essential tool to fight online infringement.
Since it came into force it has been used on a number of occasions, with the Federal Court handing down orders to restrict access to hundreds of sites said to provide access to entertainment content without permission from the rightsholders.
Back in June, media giant Foxtel filed a new statement of claim, the details of which were obtained by TorrentFreak from a third-party source. It revealed that the company was targeting 35 torrent, streaming and related proxy site domains for blocking by dozens of ISPs (full site list below).
This was the first time that a rightsholder had targeted proxy sites in Australia. A change in the law during 2018 allowed sites that have a “primary effect” of facilitating access to infringing content to be blocked, along with more direct sources such as regular pirate sites.
Following a case management hearing that took place in July, a hearing this morning resulted in Justice Nicholas handing down an injunction ordering 52 ISPs including TPG, Telstra, Optus, Vocus, Vodafone, plus their subsidiaries, to take “reasonable steps” to block the “online locations”.
A unique aspect of this application was that Foxtel had asked permission to add new domains and URLs to its orders, ones that in future might facilitate access to already-blocked sites, without having to return to court to detail them specifically.
Under legislative amendments put in place last year (Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2018)), these kinds of “dynamic orders” are permissible, but only when the Internet service providers listed in the application don’t file an objection.
According to ComputerWorld, the hearing this morning had Foxtel counsel stating that it wasn’t seeking to block fresh additional “online locations”, but only proxy and mirror-type sites those that spring up to facilitate access to already blocked sites.
However, Foxtel acknowledged that getting all of the respondent ISPs to agree to such supplementary blocking raised issues since TPG tends not to respond to any of the blocking injunctions it’s named in. That meant that formal agreement between all ISPs might be difficult to obtain.
With Justice Nicholas’ permission, Foxtel said it would amend its proposed orders to include a provision allowing an ISP to positively deny that a proxy, mirror, or similar facilitating site, provides access to a blocked site. This would likely overcome that particular stumbling block, the Judge agreed.
The associated court documents can be found here and here (pdf)
The list of domains to be blocked by ISPs in 15 days are as follows:
Sharemovies.net, seriesonline8.co, seriesonline8.com, movie4u.live, movie4u.cc, movie4u.co, seehd.uno, seehd.biz, streamdreams.org, streamdreams.me, streamdreams.co, streamdreams.online, streamdreams.video, stream-dreams.com, moviesonline.mx, wsmmirror.info, watchsomuch.info, watchsomuch.com, seventorrentsmirror.info, seventorrentsproxy.com, 7tmirror.info, torrentken.site, skytorrents.lol, unblocked.lol, unblocked.is, unblocked.ms, unblocked.win, unblocked.gdn, unblocked.vet, unblocked,sh, unblocked.mx, unblockall.org, unblocker.cc, unblock.win, myunblock.com