Inside the Australian and New Zealand book industry

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Site-blocking legislation passes senate

The federal senate has passed legislation that allows Australian publishers to apply to have sites hosting pirated content, including ebooks, films and TV series, blocked by internet service providers (ISPs).

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 legislation allows rights holders to apply through the Federal Court for overseas websites to be blocked. ISPs must comply with the judge’s order to block access to an online ‘location’ if it is found to have a ‘primary purpose’ of facilitating copyright infringement.

The Copyright Agency, which made a submission to parliament in favour of the legislation, applauded the major parties’ support to shut down sites ‘which facilitated massive online theft at the expense of creators’.

‘Online theft hurts Australian writers, visual artists, photographers, journalists and publishers,’ said Copyright Agency CEO Murray St Leger in a statement. ‘It’s not just the performing arts industries, such as film and music that are hurt by online theft. In some book genres, online theft is eliminating opportunities for emerging authors to get published in Australia.’

The Australian Publishers’ Association (APA), which also made a submission broadly supporting the legislation, welcomed a UK High Court decision earlier this month to block seven websites holding a combined 10 million ebook titles in breach of copyright laws. The ruling was made under similar site-blocking legislation, with the ISPs given 10 working days to block access to the sites.


Category: Local news