Foxtel's latest push to stop online copyright infringement seeks to have major Australian ISPs block more than 120 domains that it says are linked to movie and TV piracy.
The company’s second application for a website-blocking injunction under Section 115a of the Copyright Act was heard today in the Federal Court in Sydney.
Foxtel along with Village Roadshow was one of the first companies to seek anti-piracy website blocks under 2015 changes to Australian copyright law. The first injunction sought by Foxtel was granted in December
The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound and IsoHunt. The Roadshow injunction, granted at the same time, blocked Solar Movie.forced the country’s biggest ISPs to block
A third injunction, sought by a group of music labels, targeted BitTorrent site Kickass Torrents. That application was granted in April this year. In May, Roadshow returned to court seeking to have dozens more sites blocked.
The company said that the sites it is seeking to block are hosted outside of Australia, which is a requirement of Section 115a.
Key sites targeted this time include YesMovies, Vumoo, LosMovies, CartoonHD, Putlocker, Watch Series 1, Watch Series 2, Project Free TV 1, Project Free TV 2, Watch Episodes, Watch Episode Series, Watch TV Series, The Dare Telly, Putlocker9.is, Putlocker9.to, Torlock and 1337x. However, the full list of domains targeted is far longer.
The domains Foxtel wants blocked have varied somewhat since its initial application as the company has attempted to keep up with new proxies, mirror sites and domains coming online (a process the presiding judge, Justice Burley, today described as akin to “whack-a-mole”).
(Earlier this year Foxtel applied to the Federal Court to update the list of sites blocked by its first injunction in order to tackle a new crop of domains.)
As expected, today’s hearing included no appearance from the ISPs that will be affected by the proposed site-blocking orders.
The orders the company is seeking are modelled on those handed down in response to the initial Foxtel and Roadshow applications, including a provision that will allow the pay TV company to modify the list of blocked sites in order to deal with new mirror sites.
Despite a lack of opposition from ISPs to the proposed injunction and the operators of the targeted sites either declining to appear or ignoring Foxtel’s attempts to communicate with them, the company is still required by 115a to overcome a number of hurdles in order for the court to grant a site-blocking order.
Under the Copyright Act, in addition to proving that each of the sites is an “online location outside Australia” it is necessary to prove that “the online location infringes, or facilitates an infringement of, the copyright” and that the “primary purpose of the online location is to infringe, or to facilitate the infringement of, copyright (whether or not in Australia)”.
Foxtel told the court today that the sites it is targeting fall into two broad categories: Sites that facilitate copyright infringement through BitTorrent and those that provide access to streaming copyright material.
The latter category includes sites that directly stream material, sites that act akin to a search engine or directory for streaming material, and “frame sites” that use other sites to stream material to an end user’s browser without requiring him or her to leave the primary site.
Foxtel has relied mainly on copyright infringement of its TV show Wentworth for its application; however, a live, in-court demonstration of a number of the pirate sites focused on Game of Thrones (a series of which Justice Burley confessed he was a fan and requested that the applicants avoid any “spoilers” during today’s hearing).
Justice Burley reserved his decision.