Communications Alliance confirms discussions with Foxtel over future website blocking cases

August 11, 2015 3:11 pm

The Communications Alliance has confirmed it's been in a "general discussion" with Foxtel about future Federal Court website blocking injunctions.

The organisation, which represents ISPs, said the talks were in advance of any website blocking application. The talks were held to discuss technical, operational and financial issues prior to any court case.

As reported on August 4th, Foxtel said it was considering legal action 'in coming months' to have piracy websites in Australia blocked.

Since then, as Crikey reports today ($), Foxtel has been in "direct discussions with the representative group for telecommunications companies to work out the best way to get the case to court."

Foxtel group director of corporate affairs Bruce Meagher told Crikey:

"To the greatest extent possible we’d like to minimise the issues between the parties."

"It takes a bit of time to get cases together, but rest assured the wheels are turning."

Discussions between rights holders and ISPs were expected. As John Stanton from the Communications Alliance said last week:

ISPs hope that if applications are to be lodged, rights holders will discuss them in advance with ISPs, to provide an opportunity for some shared understanding on logistical and other issues.

These issues including timing, the provision by rights holders of a landing page to inform internet users why a web-site has been blocked, discussion of the various technical options for web-site blocking and the planned breadth of an application

And as Crikey points out, meetings between parties prior to court applications is not uncommon. It is often done to reduce costs, and to allow the court to focus on any specific area of contention.

There's also an interesting part in the Crikey article which talks about Foxtel's half owner Telstra. Telstra is, of course, an ISP. So would Telstra be a party to any Foxtel site blocking application, effectively meaning Foxtel would be suing its part-owner? You'll have to sign up to Crikey to find out.

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