Federal Court grants two more orders to block overseas infringing websites

 

On 18 August 2017, the Federal Court of Australia handed down orders in two cases: Roadshow Films Pty Ltd & Ors v Telstra Corporation Limited & Ors, and Foxtel Management Pty Limited v TPG Internet Pty Ltd & Ors. These cases add to the list of site-blocking decisions since section 115A of the Copyright Act was enacted in 2015.

In Roadshow Films Pty Ltd & Ors v Telstra Corporation Limited & Ors, the applicants sought orders against the respondent internet service providers to block access to 49 websites. These websites, which were mirrored and hosted across a number of domains, either hosted unauthorised streams of films, provided links to unauthorised streams of films, and/or enabled unauthorised downloads of films. Websites on this list included Demonoid, LimeTorrents, EZTV, and CouchTuner.

In Foxtel Management Pty Limited v TPG Internet Pty Ltd & Ors, the applicants sought orders against the respondent internet service providers to block access to 17 websites. These websites, which were mirrored and hosted across a number of domains, also either hosted unauthorised streams of films and TV content, provided links to unauthorised streams of film and TV content, and/or enabled unauthorised downloads of film and TV. Websites on this list included WatchSeries, Project Free TV, Los Movies, and 1337x.

Under Section 115A of the Copyright Act, the Federal Court is able to order an internet service provider to block access to overseas websites that facilitate copyright infringement.

In Roadshow Films Pty Ltd & Ors v Telstra Corporation & Ors, the Hon. Justice Nicholas clearly found that the applicants, either as copyright owners or as exclusive licensees, had the right to seek the orders, and the respondent internet service providers provided access to the 49 overseas websites. Justice Nicholas also found that the primary purpose of the websites was to infringe copyright, or facilitate infringement of copyright, to a degree that Justice Nicholas, in his discretion, found to be “flagrant”. As such, the court was satisfied that the requirements of section 115A were established, and that an injunction should be granted to block access to those websites. This order was made on largely the same terms as those set down in the first case decided under section 115A, Roadshow Films Pty Ltd v Telstra Corporation Ltd [2016] FCA 1503.

In Foxtel Management Pty Ltd v TPG Internet Ltd & Ors, the Hon. Justice Burley also ordered that an injunction be granted to block access to the 17 infringing websites. This order was made largely on the same terms as those set down in the previous section 115A case decided by Justice Burley, Universal Music Australia & Ors v TPG Internet Pty Ltd & Ors [2017] FCA 435, including that the applicants pay the respondents  $50 for each domain name to be blocked.

Final note

Since section 115A was enacted in 2015, the Federal Court has ordered that 65 infringing websites and over 340 domain names be blocked in Australia.

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