Attorney-General's Department provides estimate on site blocking costs

July 14, 2015 8:23 pm

An interesting little tidbit about website blocking popped up today, care of journalist Josh Taylor who is (currently) with ZDNet.

He reported "the Attorney-General's Department estimates that the cost to ISPs per piracy site blocked will be $263-$350 per ISP."

Lawyer Leanne O'Donnell immediately questioned the costs estimate.

"That isn't even an hour of an ISP's lawyer's time to check the order, let alone other costs," she wrote.

EDIT 27 July 2015:

It appears the information on the specific per site blocking cost came from an answer from the Attorney-General's Department, answering a question put on notice by Senator Collins at Senate Estimates.

Site Blocking Answer

The issue of the cost of the site blocking regulation has long been debated and discussed.

In its bills digest research paper, the Parliamentary Library wrote that while the legislation will have no financial cost for the Government, there will be costs for ISPs and copyright holders.

The Explanatory Memorandum states that the introduction of the injunction power was the subject of a short-form regulation impact statement which estimated a total cost of $130,825 to CSPs on an annual basis.

The paper goes on to point out that no regulation impact statement was completed prior to the legislation passing into law.

It is of note that the usual practice of including a regulation impact statement in the Explanatory Memorandum has not been followed with this Bill. A number of submissions question why this statement is not publicly available with some also calling for a full cost benefit analysis before the Bill is implemented.

One of those groups was the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), which suggested an analysis before the site blocking was implemented and again after 18 months of operation.

As of 6:00pm on July 14 2015, there are still no known cases that have been lodged to the Federal Court requesting a website block under Section 115A of the Copyright Act. You can track the legislation's history on this site's about page for more information about the amendment.

There are still many unanswered questions about how the site blocking process will work, what will happen during a court case and how much it will cost.

It's presumed the first case appearing in the Federal Court will be fought by ISPs, as they try to stake claims as to where they and their customers would stand in any future trials.

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