ISPs and rights holders argue about who should pay for blocking scheme

May 7, 2016 12:25 pm

ISPs and rights holders have spent Friday morning in Sydney's Federal Court arguing about who should pay for Australia's site blocking scheme.

It's the first site blocking case to make it to court, and is a test of the laws which were passed in June last year.

Village Roadshow has filed an application to block access to SolarMovie, and Foxtel wants to block The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, IsoHunt and TorrentHound.

I couldn't make it to court for the directions hearing, but the the story has been covered by Australia's wonderful tech journos. Links below:

IT News:

Australian internet service providers caught up in legal requests to deny access to a handful of overseas alleged piracy sites are standing firm against having to pay the costs of implementing the blocks.

Computer World:

TPG (including subsidiaries such as iiNet), Telstra, Optus and M2 have confirmed they don’t intend to oppose Federal Court applications by Foxtel and Village Roadshow that seek to have the ISPs block their customers access a collection of piracy-linked websites.


Who should have to pay to block sites that host pirated content? ISPs and copyright holders both say "not us".

For fun, here's how the directions hearing went down:

So there's another date for the diary.

Incidentally, there was a discussion about the technical measures of site blocking.

With DNS blocking appearing to be the preferred method, it's worth revisiting what the ISP's lobby group the Communications Alliance said about it last year in their submission to the senate enquiry into the legislation.

Blocking a web site at the level of the Domain Name System (DNS) is typically the simplest and least costly method to achieve the objectives of the Bill.

But it also pointed out there are problems with this approach:

In most instances it will also be impossible for wholesale providers to 'flow-down' to their wholesale customers the blocked access to a specific web-site, as those downstream providers will be using a different domain name. To further complicate matters, large corporate customers and Government customers also often use their own DNS.

And of course, the techniques to get around DNS blocks can be rather easy. A commenter on the Crikey story said:

A mate of mine from there is forever asking me to get him magnet links to torrents. I paste the magnet link into an IM to him and ta-da, he’s pirating off a pirate bay torrent like the filter ain’t even there!

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