Australian site-blocking Bill passed, largely unamended

Posted On June 23, 2015
In Copyright in Cyberspace / Reply

Legislation introducing a site-blocking remedy for online copyright infringement has been passed by the Australian parliament, essentially in the form in which it was originally proposed.

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015 provides that a copyright owner may apply to the Federal Court of Australia for an injunction requiring ISPs to block access to a foreign “online location”, where the “primary purpose” of the online location is to infringe, or facilitate the infringement of, copyright (whether or not in Australia).

Both the Minister’s Second Reading speech and the Explanatory Memorandum make clear that the legislation is not intended to block access to a virtual private networks (VPN) that might be used to access infringing material, because a VPN has uses other than to access infringing material and so it could not be said that its “primary purpose” is to facilitate infringement.

The only substantive amendment made to the Bill following its consideration by the Senate committee was to make the list of matters to be taken into account by the court in considering whether to grant a site-blocking remedy be made inclusive, rather than prescriptive.


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