Netflix, Which Has Previously Touted Its Ability To Compete With Piracy, Joins Australian Antipiracy Efforts
from the about-face dept
We have for some time been covering the rapid expansion of antipiracy and site-blocking efforts in Australia. Between the movie and music spaces, these efforts have been spearheaded by a couple of local entertainment groups, such as Village Roadshow and Music Rights Australia, and the typical suspects from the US, such as the MPAA, RIAA, and various movie and music studios. The ramping up of those efforts continues to date, with recently updated copyright laws being used by those groups to request massive site-blocking for torrent and streaming sites, with the courts generally rubber-stamping all of them.
To date, a glaring non-combatant in all of this has been Netflix. And that hasn’t been some huge surprise, either, given that Netflix has long had a history of touting its own ability to both compete with piracy and make use of its cultural effects, and the rest of the entertainment industry painting Netflix as some kind of problem for the industry itself. And, while Netflix’s tone on piracy has certainly begun to change, that made it somewhat jarring to learn that the company was suddenly diving into the Australia anti-piracy fray with both feet.
Over the past two years, many of the world’s largest torrent and streaming sites have already been blocked, but the work is far from done. A new application recently submitted at the Federal Court of Australia requests ISPs to block dozens of websites.
The complaint comes from Village Roadshow as well as several other prominent movie companies such as Disney Enterprises and Universal City Studios. For the first time, Netflix Studios has joined in as well, as Computerworld notes.
As stated, Netflix is now a part of the MPAA, which perhaps explains why it is now in on these enforcement efforts. This appears to be something of a move of solidarity with the industry, as the focus of this particular complaint is pretty heavy on sites accused of distributing Asian content.
Interestingly, the court order has a strong focus on Asian content. Several of the targeted sites, such as BTBTT and 123kubo.org, are predominantly popular in Asian countries. In addition, the list also includes many anime sites such as Animeultima.to and Ryuanime.com.
The latter is likely due to the fact that the Australian distribution group Madman Anime Group is listed as one of the applicants as well.
So, again, there’s something of a all-for-one and one-for-all flavor to all of this. Still, being a member of the MPAA doesn’t require Netflix to join in on these legal efforts at site-blocking. As is typical in these complaints, the torrent and streaming sites are painted as having only one purpose: to commit copyright infringement. On that basis, the complaint seeks the blocking of 86 websites.
But the new part of this is Netflix’s involvement. Why it suddenly feels the need to join the ranks of those seeking site-blocking is an open question, particularly when it has built a business model out of being more convenient and reasonable an option than piracy itself.