Foxtel, Village Roadshow begin the legal fight to have sites blocked

March 15, 2016 9:17 pm


It was the day in court that Village Roadshow and Foxtel had long been waiting for.

The two rights holders appeared before Justice Nicholas in the Federal Court this morning, and began laying out their arguments for why 65 URLs and many more IP addresses should be blocked in Australia.

Unsurprisingly, no one from the alleged piracy websites (The Pirate Bay and SolarMovie) was there. Richard Lancaster, appearing for Foxtel, said he didn't expect anyone would be appearing in the future.

Lawyers/barristers for Telstra, TPG, M2 and Optus were present, and said they would - essentially - not be putting up a defence to the site-blocking application.

While the court was told that discussions between the rights holders and the ISPs to date had been "fruitful" since the case was filed last month, there are still some disagreements between the two parties.

The ISPs want a cost-effective, efficient scheme and know that the case currently before the Federal Court will likely be the precedent that follows for all future cases, of which there will be many.

Optus urged for "best practice" from the outset. Basically, as Rohan Pearce tweeted:

Essentially ... ISPs won't contest the site blocks but want to make sure that the blocking order is not too onerous.

The concerns ISPs have was perhaps best illustrated by TPG, who revealed that one of the applicants - Foxtel - has asked for (via draft orders) the ability to add IP addresses to the blocking list as required without having to make an application to the Federal Court.

TPG also pointed out that the first IP address on Foxtel's requested block list no longer appears to be connected to The Pirate Bay.

Remaining questions:

  • The technical methods for blocking (DNS blocking, etc)
  • What'll happen with IP addresses that are no longer connected to the piracy websites (ie, content delivery networks)
  • Are IP addresses a new online location, or merely an extension of the initial website?
  • If IP addresses are blocked by rights holders requesting it directly, how will anyone know what's being blocked?
  • Who will control/what will be on any redirected pages/splash pages after a block takes place
  • Loads more, no doubt :)

Everyone will be back in court for more answers on May 6th.

For MUCH more in-depth coverage from two journos who were in court this morning:

And for the very revealing orders that came from today's hearing, check them out here:

March 15 Federal Court Orders



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