Australia has just passed a new law that would require internet service providers to block websites that show pirated material, such as e-books. The websites are not up to the internet companies, instead publishers and rights holders have to make a case to the Federal government and demand sites whose “primary purpose” is the illegal sharing of copyrighted material be blocked.
This is a big win for the publishing and entertainment industry and the popular torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay and KickAssTorrents, which allow people to illicitly download books, movies and TV shows online without paying, are expected to be among the first websites in rights holders’ sights. This is expected to garner lots of publicity because the Pirate Bay is the largest of its kind and a household name.
Australia is now the second country to pass laws to block piracy websites. Four years ago in the United Kingdom the Voluntary Copyright Alert Program was established between the government, entertainment industry and the internet service providers. Their first big bust occurred last month when a UK high court ruled that five of the largest internet providers had to block access to several pirate websites. BT, Virgin Media, Sky, EE, and TalkTalk were told that had not display any links from AvaxHome, Bookfi, Bookre Ebookee, Freebookspot, Freshwap, and LibGen. The sites were said to offer more than ten million titles for download, more than 80% of which infringed copyright according to the Publishers Association. The websites in question had 1.75 million take down requests from authors and publishers in the last year.