How Soon Will Australia Start Blocking Web Sites?

How Soon Will Australia Start Blocking Web Sites?

Yesterday, the Australian Senate passed legislation which will require ISPs to block sites that are found by a court to enable piracy. Just how soon will that happen and what effect will it have?

Picture: Gobi

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 passed the Senate last night, despite concerns from the Greens and others that the legislation was rushed, poorly defined and could easily lead to the blocking of file-sharing sites and VPN providers. That means that content creators will soon be able to apply to the Federal Court to have sites blocked if their “primary purpose” is to enable copyright infringement.

The first targets for the legislation are likely to be sites which openly promote access to torrents of copyrighted material (the Pirate Bay being the most obvious example). If a judge decides that a site will be included on the list, then ISPs in Australia will need to block access to it.

Realistically, that doesn’t mean there won’t be ways around it. If you use a VPN to mask your location (and there are plenty to choose from), then your ISP won’t be able to detect your activity. That has led to speculation that rights holders will seek to have VPN providers banned, but since VPNs also have legitimate business uses, it might be harder to persuade a court to ban those entirely.

Either way, look forward to a lot more courtroom activity in the neat future — and that’s before the prospect of a three strikes rule being introduced as well.


  • Another win for the luddites! Couple this with our wet-string NBN and this country is headed for the tech toilet….our political system is broken…

    • indeed, i can feel my degree getting less and less worth it everyday in this country and its soon going to cost me even more then i signed up for and they want people to stay in this country!

    • Please point me in the direction of a political system that isn’t broken. I’m not defending the current government, just curious. A lot of people complain of our system being broken without pointing to one that wouldn’t suck.

      • Norway seems to be kicking a lot of goals…

        PS. This further justifies pushing your votes to the Greens and other “minor” parties. The big parties no longer represent the people, they only represent their funding sources.

        • Voting Green will get us an awesome amount of North Sea oil? Might be worth it, then.

          • Voting Green (or anyone else) will give the big 2 the kick up the backside that they need to hopefully re-focus their attentions on representing Australians, instead of representing companies who donate. Your vote will likely eventually slide to one of the big 2 anyway, but under the current system it’s the ONLY way to enact any change in our “leadership”.

            The current state of play is an absolute joke! I voted for Hewson and subsequently Howard to get the GST implemented cause I could see that it was for the good of the country, despite the fact I’m definitely more left than right of centre. Now I just vote Green as a protest with Lib/Labor stacked on top of each other in my preferences close to the bottom cause the Big 2 are both completely unrepresentative and have zero care for the future of the country past the next poll, let alone the next election!

      • It is broken, but at least some other countries seem to be moving forward, while we are going backward. Countries like Chile will have free higher education starting from 2016 (and others already have free or affordable higher education system) and we are moving toward a more expensive higher education and even more cuts to education in general, while miners billionaires (and probably media magnates) are receiving more incentives. Investments on renewable energy is a joke over here, what’s sad, because I believe we have so much potential in this area. I’m not saying that we are the worst country in the world, because we are not…I just feel that we are moving backwards. I guess this is what happens when we employ a prime minister that is an admitted Luddite (he should seek treatment for Technophobia btw).

      • Proportional Representation electoral system and Social Democracy policies.
        Used by the Nordic Countries (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland) who are pretty much right at the top across most measures of how a country is doing. Quality of life, affordability, wealth, health, education, energy, security, justice, you name it, they are making it work well. Parties need to form coalitions to make government and work together. Crazy talk, right?
        Let’s just say conservatives hate the existence of these countries and the proof that liberal governments work really well.

    • No, our political system isn’t broken. The voters just voted in the wrong bunch of politicians. It’s the politicians who are broken.

  • This is the thin edge of the wedge. The scope was made ambiguous so the system could be exploited. This is the path to censorship on a much broader scale – that’s a 100% guarantee.
    Next, it will be “protect the kiddies”, then “you can’t say anything negative” (eg. Accusing a politician of corruption).

    • It says a lot about who is actually pulling the strings in Canberra when the previous attempt to introduce a web filter to block child pornography failed. But when it comes to introducing a web filter to protect Rupert Murdoch’s financial interests, it gets bipartisan support from both of our utterly corrupt major parties.

      Presumably the lesson we’re supposed to take from this is that Rupert Murdoch not getting the return he wants on his Foxtel exclusivity deal for Game of Thrones is a bigger problem for our politicians than child porn?

  • How Soon Will your nan call you because “my tv shows dont work anymore”, more like it, if only there was a millions ways around this super effective ass backwards thinking

  • Just like VPN’s torrent sites such as thepiratebay have legitimate uses as well. It offers a great platform to distribute FOSS. This can potentially backfire against a community of people who often out of principle don’t use proprietary software,let alone non-licensed proprietary software.

  • Why is there never any talk about stopping the exclusive deals on shows like game of thrones? These are the kind of things that help drive the piracy that causes all these worried parties to have sleepless nights in their million dollar homes.

  • Internet freedoms are under attack from both sides of politics in this country. But what concerns me most is that none of these measures have been in anyway effective in neutralizing piracy, just look at the UK. The words VPN and Seedbox will become household terms before the Abbott Government is through. I looked at some VPN’s yesterday at and I will be looking into a Seedbox as well before season 6 of GoT starts

    • Can’t agree more. It’s such a waste of money that should be going somewhere else, probably to education, since they are “struggling” to keep it affordable.

    • Hopefully the exclusivity deal with Apple runs out (it’s supposed to last a couple more weeks) and we can legally stream GoT season 6 from HBO Now.

  • The heading of this article is a bit misleading. Australia has already been blocking websites since 2012. After the previous government’s failed Internet filter legislation, where they instead forced all ISPs to block an Interpol managed blacklist.

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  • They have already started a crackdown. Standard Porn sites are also on the hit list. was redirected to the afp website. SSL verified, not fake. Why take risks anymore, subscriptions are so cheap.

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