Netflix’s production arm, Netflix Studios, is backing legal action brought in the Federal Court of Australia that seeks to have major Internet service providers (ISPs) block dozens of websites allegedly linked to online piracy.
It is the first time that the streaming leviathan has sought to use Australian anti-piracy laws to block sites that offer illicit access to its content. The site-blocking application cites episodes from Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet and Stranger Things, alleging they were made available on a number of services without the entertainment company’s permission.
Village Roadshow, which has frequently availed itself of Australia’s site-blocking laws, is leading the action. Along with Netflix, it is supported by five film studios as well as Hong Kong’s Television Broadcasts Limited and Australian distributor Madman.
If granted, Telstra, Optus, Vocus, TPG and Vodafone will be forced to take reasonable steps to block their customers from accessing a long list of services that allow their users to stream or download unauthorised copies of a range of TV shows and movies, or link to other sites that offer those services.
The application lists 95 target online services, as well as 131 associated domains.
The application is scheduled for a case management hearing in June.
A separate site-blocking application also led by Roadshow is currently being considered by the court. That application targets around 100 domain names.
Earlier this year major music labels were successful in their efforts to have major ISPs block access to four ‘stream ripping’ sites. Stream-ripping services allow audio track or copies of videos to be downloaded from services such as YouTube and Spotify.