Australian Government legislates to stop content piracy

100% human

The Australian Government has introduced the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2018. It aims to stop piracy by reducing the opportunity to pirate.

The bill compels carriage service providers (ISPs), search engines and more to block domain names, URLs and IP addresses of piracy websites regardless of location. Search engines will not be able to provide search results.

The move will make it that much harder for the average Australian to download pirate, copyright music, movies, software and more.

Copyright holders will have an easier time now as the bill closes a few more loopholes and makes it easier for them to request site blocks. These blocks can now include Debrid ‘content’ lockers that facilitate downloading of anonymised or encrypted content with a code.

TorrentFreak a site dedicated to the latest news about copyright, privacy, and everything related to filesharing says the legislation really targets Google. As one pirate site is blocked several other proxies spring up to be found by Google’s indexing bots.

It says companies including Google:

Must take such steps as the Court considers reasonable so as not to provide a search result that refers users to the online location. Search providers will also be compelled to deal with the subsequent appearance of mirrors and proxies by ensuring that these don’t appear in search results either.

Google voluntarily demotes (places them lower in search results) pirate sites on the number of US DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) notices it receives. This legislation requires it to remove references to them completely for Australian searches.

GadgetGuy’s take – just pay for it

GadgetGuy supports the principle of copyright. Original work needs payment, or else it will go the way of the Dodo. It is why pirate music sites like Napster gave way to Apple Music, Spotify etc. It seems we are happy with the different music subscription business model!

Video copyright holders point to a 53% decline in traffic to pirate sites due to the availability of subscription sites like Netflix, Stan, Foxtel et al.

All this shows is that it is not just the availability but the availability at an affordable price. Too many commentators say these services are still not economical enough. They still hold onto outmoded royalty systems.

Video copyright holders need to amend their business model because piracy still exists. If the model were right, piracy would not. For example, catch-up/binge TV a.k.a. Freeview, iView etc., is flourishing because it is free and ad-supported.

Instead of changing their business model to a more acceptable one, copyright holders constantly point the finger at search engines for facilitating workarounds. “Google gives illegal downloaders a key to the back-door”.

I cannot see how this legislation will be effective with thousands of companies promoting the use of VPNs to download torrent materials. In effect, a VPN moves the action outside Australia’s sovereign borders – a loophole.

The amendments may make it harder for a ‘newbie’ to find content via search – out-of-site-out-of-mind. However, seasoned pirates will continue regardless.