Site-Blocking In Australia Expanded Again To Include 105 More Sites, Including A Search Engine

from the creep-creep-creep dept

The Australian government approved an amended copyright law late last year that made subtle changes to what types of sites ISPs can be ordered to be blocked by the courts, and the process by which that order is obtained. Essentially, the changes amounted to allowing blocking of sites with the primary “effect” being copyright infringement, rather than the primary “purpose”, along with an expedited process for getting additional site-blocking orders for sites that set up mirror sites to route around the blocks. Before the ink on the legislation was even dry, just as we warned, Village Roadshow and a bunch of American entertainment companies swooped into the court system to order blocks on all kinds of sites.

And now it appears those groups were just getting started. After getting 181 domains blocked late last year, industry groups have decided to expand that with a recent request to block an additional 105 domains.

Soon after, the same companies (plus Australian distributor Madman and Tokyo Broadcasting) returned to court with a new application to block 79 “online locations” associated with 99 domains.

The order appears to have changed slightly since the original application. It now lists 104 domains spread across 76 allegedly-infringing platforms. Many of the sites are well-known torrent and streaming services, including StreamCR, Torrenting, TorrentLeech, AnimeHeaven, and HorribleSubs, to name just a few.

It’s a significant number of sites to be sure and it’s all enabled by the change in the copyright law. It’s worth keeping in mind that we’re less than a year into the change in law, and the entertainment industry has already blocked something like 200 sites. Even if we were to stipulate the pirate-y nature of these sites, which we shouldn’t, the speed at which this much wholesale blocking is being done is tremendous.

On the topic of whether all the sites being blocked are pirate sites, at least one of those sites is attempting to defend itself.

It’s extremely unusual for any sites to mount any kind of defense against blocking but earlier this year, Socrates Dimitriadis – the operator of – did just that.

“My site is just a search engine that refers users to third-party websites,” he explained in a letter to the Court.

That appears to have held no sway with the Judge. Greek-Movies is the 15th site listed in the injunction, with ISPs required to target its main domain ( and/or its IP address, using DNS, IP address or URL blocking, or “any alternative technical means”.

This reveals the pernicious nature of the “purpose” to “effect” change in copyright law. There are simply no clear lines drawn here, which has now resulted in a site that does not host any infringing content being blocked under the argument that it’s primary effect is still to effect copyright infringement. Precisely how long do you think it will take before someone in the music industry attempts to get YouTube blocked using that same argument? After all, there is a lot of infringement being done on YouTube, even though the primary purpose of the site is certainly not to commit copyright infringement. It sure seems like someone could do a statistical analysis of views and/or traffic on YouTube, mess with the data, and reach the conclusion that infringement is a primary effect of the site, no?

Again, we’re not even a year in. This is only going to get much, much worse.

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Comments on “Site-Blocking In Australia Expanded Again To Include 105 More Sites, Including A Search Engine”

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Christenson says:

How long before youtube is taken down??

Dear Mike:
It will be awhile before the entertainment industry takes down youtube…because that will cause huge backlash. As a strategy to end the silliness, that backlash could actually be quite helpful…and maybe Techdirt should file its first copywrong complaint against youtube, succeed against all odds, and trigger that very backlash.

Just noodling….

Stewart 'Stewie' Mulligan says:

Done by "private corporations" -- so you can't complain!

Now, just because "legislation" enables this, doesn’t mean that the actual blocking is by gov’t. No, no, NO. Masnick just put up a long piece telling us how that doesn’t apply (in American law, but similar enough). — The complaints are brought by private corporations, are due-processed through a judge, and implemented by other private corporations. SO though is an "enabling law", is NOT government action! … Right? Anyone generous enough to admit a similarity that you can be censored by corporations?

BUT NO, of course you piratates are not going to see least similarity because will hamper piracy. Period.

"My site is just a search engine that refers users to third-party websites," he explained in a letter to the Court.

Oh, boo hoo! No doubt facilitates pirates searching for infringed content with result that creators don’t get a cent.

There are simply no clear lines drawn here, which has now resulted in a site that does not host any infringing content being blocked under the argument that it’s primary effect is still to effect copyright infringement.

No clear lines between gov’t and corporate power in Section 230, either. Masnick claims that gov’t authorizes "platforms" to violate the First Amendment Rights of "natural" persons (not just "moderate" as he euphemizes and melds, but "a priori" censoring). Those corporations wouldn’t have such power without the statute, so it’s gov’t-conferred. Print publishers still do not have such immunity AND retain editorial control.

Section 230 is new fascism for the internet, where you cannot find "clear lines".

The result with either Section 230 for Americans or here for the Queen’s Aussie serfs is censoring.

So, not entirely comparable, but now pirates are censored without gov’t action! Enjoy!

(To be clear, I see this as protecting creators, and yet Section 230 is bad because being used to stifle indepedent voices.)

Stewart 'Stewie' Mulligan says:

Re: Re: Done by "private corporations" -- so you can't


Oh, I see: NO possible explanation for an ordinary typographical error than drug use.

That’s Techdirt logic.

Also off-topic distraction.

Those apparent mistakes are to make you focus on the text, silly. You now have a new word firmly fixed in mind, along with having read the sentence again and it impressed in brain cells. You have been programmed.

OR I made a simple ordinary mistake and you’re an only too typical ‘dirter who thought it important.

Gary (profile) says:

Re: Done by "private corporations" -- so you can't Troll!

So either you don’t actually understand that Copyright is a state action because of your poor reading skills, or you just love corporate control so much you can’t stop submitting to their whims?

Has your inbred cornfed nazi-lovin’ brain been screaming so much about quasi-state actors that you have forgotten that this is actually a real state action of mass censorship?

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:


just because "legislation" enables this, doesn’t mean that the actual blocking is by gov’t

Copyright is a concept rooted in government and the legal system. Any action taken to protect copyright is a state-sanctioned action. Ergo, the government is involved in any copyright case no matter what logic you twist to say otherwise.

Not that you’ll never admit how copyright can be used to route around the First Amendment. But still.

christenson says:

Re: Re: Government involvement a degree too far removed

Heya Mr Stone:

Nice message you got there…gubmnt says I have a license to collect 150 grand for it (statutory damages, my copywrong), now pay up!

(Hint: the gubmnt sanctions that, but it isn’t directly involved until I get a judge or the USTR or customs involved, at which point I typically have to start out with the copyright registrar but not if I just call you a pirate!)


PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Done by "private corporations" -- so you can't complain!

I’m always fascinated as to the alternative realities you have to create in order to comment here, especially since you always create them in order to rant and rave about something.

Wouldn’t your life be easier and more fulfilling if you just accepted the reality everybody else lives in?

That One Guy (profile) says:

Never, but not for lack of desire

Precisely how long do you think it will take before someone in the music industry attempts to get YouTube blocked using that same argument?

Oh I can all but guarantee that they won’t touch YouTube, not because they don’t want to kill it off mind, but because YT has the money to fight back and is large and popular enough that even attempting would draw unwanted attention to how bad the law is.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Never, but not for lack of desire

Actually, they won’t kill it off* because they already killed off their own Vevo platform in order to host it 100% on YouTube. They’ll happily use the same arguments to kill off competition, though.

  • Not deliberately anyway, but it’s not past them to accidentally destroy lucrative platforms through stupidity.
ECA (profile) says:

Anyone can do it..

Its hard to find, looking for the # of DMCA sent to google, YT, Yahoo, MSDN, MSNBC, and tons of other sites… Dont know if its even listed someplace, but they have noted that its in the Millions..for each site. And they also note that over 1/2 is stupid or fake.. Which is the problem with YT at this time..
Anyone can send a DMCA…real or fake…and it takes TIME to get back online. YT dont do anything(really) unless you TELL them you were taken off.

NOW if you want to have FUN, try going to Movie/Anime/international, and have a Permanent link…
Iv got links to legal sites froma few years back that arnt there anymore…The site changes, and it dont work, Then you get sites that cant pay the bills, Then the ones Chased off the net…IF they can find the OWNERS..

But the Big question I find, is PROVE IT, Prove you have the rights to Send a DMCA for what you are asking…THEY dont have to.

Blocking isnt going to work, they even mentioned it. They just change sites and are active again. Many Anime sites get releases JUST after the release in the Other nation..Which is interesting. As Subbing takes less then 1 week, and Full Dub is 4-6 months.. And even funamation cant do it that fast.. and its strange that the Voives seem the same..

Christenson says:

Re: Anyone can do it..

In an era of all-electronic DMCA notices, the lack of friction leads to massive amounts of spam…and right into what Techdirt has mentioned before, since the notices are at scale, and require moderation (in the form of fair use analysis), its basically impossible to get them to work as originally envisioned, that is with fair consideration to all parties.

Not that some don’t consider that steamrolling of individuals a feature and not a bug, see Lenz versus Unversal Studios (the Dancing Baby case)

Zof (profile) says:

Are they also going to ban thinking?

Because VPN’s are easy. And if they try to stop that, SSH tunnels are somewhat easy. I mean, they can’t close every hole. You can always get out. It’s almost fun watching them try.

They’ll succeed in creating a class of pissed-off skilled hackers. Hopefully they’ll be able to hire them before they get revenge.

ECA (profile) says:

Re: Are they also going to ban thinking?

with all that happening in China, its fun when our gov. points to china, Russia, others as trying to HACK the USA..
Hiding things on the net, isnt TO HARD, if you know the old ways/tricks.. And its a wonder that Hackers seem to have found IMPORTANT locations like our Electrical controls on the internet.
I was amazed when I heard about the USA and stuxnet, But then remembered that the world is Filled with really Simple people. that Rush to create a site in the most basic construction..and forget the backdoors were built in..
Some of this is so blatant, that its kinda stupid. when a barbie/Smart TV/frig/toaster/most cellphones can be used to monitor a home?? Its easy to setup that the devices have to have a DIRECT, connectio of wireless, you have to know the Address and such of the device, as it dont broadcast, unless connected to wifi..

baldy43Robert (profile) says:

blocking download sites

How many more rights are this Australian Federal Government going to take away from the Citizens of Australia.
Here in Australia we are paying more money for movies and music DVDs or CDs that any other Country in the World. If the movie and music was to become available to the people of Australia at the same price that I am able to purchase them from Britton or the USA, then we would not have to evert to downloading them. This is a 2way street and not a one-way freeway as it is today.
Also by doing this the Government would make more money in GST, but until the wake up all they are is a mob of um-nuts run from the USA.

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