Internet Piracy Laws Australia

Internet Piracy Laws Australia

Internet Piracy Laws Australia

How do Australian anti-piracy laws work?

As a small or medium business, stopping internet piracy of your content involves a claim under Copyright Law, after you have asked someone to ‘cease and desist’ stealing your material.

Since mid-2015, Australian ISPs (internet service providers) have become vulnerable to claims by big music and film publishers in an effort to reduce illegal downloading in Australia.

The first cases have now made their way through the Federal Court system, resulting in site blocking of PirateBay, KickAssTorrents and a variety of other websites.

the first step

A copyright holder applies to the Federal Court for an order under section 115A of the Australian Copyright Act, introduced in June 2015. The biggest film and music publishers in the world are typical applicants. 

The applicant has to show that the ISP enables access to online content outside Australia that has the main purpose of making it possible for people to infringe copyright. So the two key provisions are:

  • the infringing website has to be located outside Australia (domain names, hosting and ISPs were all considered)
  • the website has the main purpose of making it possible for people to infringe copyright.

Everyone comes to the party when an anti-piracy claim is made.

In Universal Music Australia Pty Limited v TPG Internet Pty Ltd there were 5 applicant companies and 34 respondent companies.

In Roadshow Films Pty Ltd v Telstra Corporation Ltd there were 15 applicants and 50 respondents.

With the consistency in orders, it is possible that the respondents won’t always participate in future court matters (Foxtel filed a new claim in May 2017) and will simply sit back and wait for the orders.

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What does an Australian ISP have to do to stop online piracy?

The recent court decisions give ISPs 15 days to disable access to the domain names identified in the orders. Only the mirror sites identified in the orders have to be blocked. Given that there is often more than six months delay in a claim being filed and a decision coming down from the court, pirate sites will have ample time between the start of proceedings and the issuing of orders to create new mirror sites. The Court has kept the right to review claims of mirror sites under a new application before additional orders can be made. ISPs have to take reasonable steps, and the orders remain in effect for 3 years.

The site blocking provisions don’t affect end users, so experienced down-loaders will no doubt find the alternative offerings without delay.

Downloading from pirate sites is illegal, and people who download that material can be sued, as shown with the 4000 people sued in the Dallas Buyers Club court case (since abandoned). It is unlikely to be a cost effective exercise for music or film publishers in Australia to sue individuals because the courts have already determined that damages will be assessed at around the retail value of a new release DVD.

Anyone trying to access a blocked site will be redirected to a message “Access to the website has been disabled because this Court has determined that it infringes or facilitates the infringement of copyright.”

We would ask if you’ve seen that message yet, but don’t want you to incriminate yourself.

How can Onyx Legal help you?

If you would like to understand more about how to protect the copyright in your online materials, or stop someone else from copying it, contact us.

The minimum legal terms you NEED for your website

The minimum legal terms you NEED for your website

The minimum legal terms you NEED for your website

Website Terms and Conditions

Today we’re talking about the minimum legal terms you need for your website.

The reason you would have a legal terms on your website is to reduce the risk to your business, so it’s not a small thing. It’s actually really important to the viability of your business into the future.

For an example,  I recall a man in the UK who got sued by a company in the US out of a court in Australia because of comments he made on his website. He had no legal terms to protect himself.

One of the key things you can do is use your Terms of Use is to designate your governing law, the relevant law for your website. So if you’re based in the US, you want some law relevant to the US. If you’re based in the UK, you want it in the UK. If you’re in Australia, you want it in Australia. That’s one key thing that Terms of Use can do for you.

The other thing is privacy. Privacy is pretty important.

There are a lot of people out there concerned about how that information is used. Whether you are legally required to protect your client’s privacy or not, it’s a really worthwhile investment to do that.

The quickest way to notify people how you do that is to have a Privacy Policy on your website.

The more products or services you offer through your website, the more terms and conditions you can use to help limit the risk to your business and to better manage the expectations of your customers. 


How can Onyx Legal help you?

We can help you in putting together both the Terms of Use and a Privacy Policy. We can also talk to you about any other terms and conditions you might need for your website.