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Australian Court Forces Companies To Block Torrent Sites

The Pirate Bay is one of the torrenting sites soon to be blocked.

15/12/2016 7:07 PM AEDT | Updated 15/12/2016 8:38 PM AEDT
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Aussie Internet users will soon be blocked from five major torrenting websites following a landmark case on online copyright infringement.

The Federal Court on Thursday ruled that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) must block the copyright infringing sites in a major crackdown on websites facilitating illegal downloading and streaming. The landmark case marks a major crackdown on online copyright infringement.

Over 50 national Telco companies -- including Telstra, Optus and TPG -- must "take reasonable steps to disable access" within 15 days. The banned websites include The Pirate Bay, SolarMovie, IsoHunt, Torrent Hound and Torrentz.

Foxtel was quick to welcome the Federal Court decision to block five of the largest online piracy sites.

"This judgment is a major step in both directly combating piracy and educating the public that accessing content through these sites is not OK, in fact it is theft," Foxtel Chief Executive, Peter Tonagh, said.

"Piracy does great damage to Australia's content creating industries and we were delighted that the Government and Parliament recognised this by passing these new legislative provisions last year."

However, rights holders will have to foot the bill. Companies seeking to have websites blocked will have to pay a fee to ISPs. Village Roadshow and Foxtel were also ordered to pay legal costs of the ISPs.

The decision follows the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill that was passed June 2015, giving power to rights holders to request removal of sites that host infringing material.

Some are skeptical that the ISPs will be able to successfully block sites, claiming it will more likely be a game of wack-a-moll.

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