New laws to block overseas websites that infringe copyright have been high on the agenda for Australia as part of an nationwide crackdown on online piracy.
The new Bill — allowing all content rights holders to lodge a court order with the Federal Court against sites which facilitate piracy — has already received bipartisan support by the Parliament who are expected to vote on the issue next week.
But according to Pirate Bay’s Peter Sunde, the federal government’s attempts to block overseas web services are not the answer to curbing illegal downloading in Australia.
The Swedish co-founder of one of the world’s most notorious file-sharing websites points to the loopholes in the website-blocking measures especially since VPNs used to access torrent providers and blocked sites have escaped the Bill.
“For instance, in Denmark just a few minutes away from here, they tried to block Pirate Bay,” he said.
“What happened is that people found very easy ways to circumvent the block, and the traffic from those countries to Pirate Bay spiked afterwards.
“People aren’t stupid and there’s really easy alternatives to circumvent most of these [website blocking] legislations.
“So it becomes a kind of whack-a-mole game, and like a nuclear arms race as well, because you will have to block the next thing that will help people to circumvent things.”
Just recently, a landmark ruling by the Federal Court against illegal downloaders, brought by the film company behind “Dallas Buyers Club” ruled that five Australian internet service providers, most notably iiNet, must disclose the names and addresses of those responsible.
A copy of the infringement from Voltage Pictures was released earlier this week, giving 28 days to 4,726 people to either admit to illegally downloading copies of the movie or to provide the name of the person who did.
“They shouldn’t have to [download]. It should be available for people to download, things that they need in some other legal manner,” Sunde says.
“It seems to be attacking the issue from the wrong end,” says Senator Scott Ludlam.
“This bill is using a hammer to crack a nut. If you give people a convenient way of accessing content very, very few people will be bothered to pirate stuff.”
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