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?
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.