Piracy crackdown: Rights holders come out swinging for bill…

Groups representing copyright holders and one of the entertainment companies that has spearheaded use of an existing anti-piracy law have strongly backed proposed changes to Australia’s site-blocking regime.

Currently, the site-blocking process in Australia’s Copyright Act allows Federal Court injunctions to be granted that force telcos to block their customers from accessing specified overseas-based online services that engage in or facilitate copyright infringement.

The government has introduced a bill that will expand the system of site-blocking injunctions from ISPs to online service providers, allowing copyright holders and licensees to obtain court orders forcing search engine operators such as Google to remove links to sites that facilitate online piracy.

The bill will also enable rights holders to obtain injunctions against a much wider range of online services such as some online file-hosting services as long as they have the “primary purpose or the primary effect” of infringing, or facilitating the infringement of, copyright (currently the legislation requires that an online location has as its “primary purpose” the infringement, or facilitating the infringement, of copyright).

Other changes outlined in the bill include making it easier to block mirror and proxy sites and reducing the evidentiary burden faced by applicants.

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