Village Roadshow aims to block 40 pirate sites

Looks to Korean model of piracy crackdowns leading to box office takings growth

Village Roadshow will this month launch Federal Court action to block up to 40 piracy-linked websites sites, the company revealed today.

The unnamed targets constitute approximately 90 per cent of the flow of illegal downloads, Village said in its half year results report this morning.

The company also outlined a five-point programme to tackle piracy, which it said had been detrimental to its cinema exhibition and film distribution businesses.

In December, the Federal Court handed down the first website blocking injunctions under Australian anti-piracy laws. The ruling compelled major ISPs to block their customers from accessing a number of sites linked to online piracy.

Village (leading a group of movie studios that included Disney, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, Warner Bros and Paramount) and Foxtel backed two applications for injunction, seeking to block a number of streaming and BitTorrent sites.

A separate site-blocking application has been launched by the music industry seeking to have Telstra, Optus, TPG and Foxtel’s broadband arm block access to Kickass Torrents.

Village said that it had seen a “dramatic reduction in downloads” following the blocking of The Pirate Bay.

Korean inspiration

Site blocking is the first stage of a five point program, which Village outlined this morning. The company will work on “Google take-downs and site ranking demotions” and a “major PR campaign”, it said. “Availability of legal product” and “suing infringers” would follow.

Village said it was aiming for a similar outcome to that witnessed in Korea, which has taken similar measure in recent years.

Piracy in Korea had fallen by nearly 90 per cent since 2008, according to the country’s Copyright Commission. The fall corresponded with huge growth in cinema box office revenue and internet television and over-the-top content revenues, Village claimed.

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