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Government proposals would block piracy sites, but wouldn't punish infringers

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Dec 2014 9:09

Government proposals would block piracy sites, but wouldn't punish infringers Under copyright law reform proposals in Australia, access to piracy websites could be blocked by Internet users, but downloaders would escape further punishment.
The proposals are the latest part in an ongoing debate in Australia over how to tackle Internet piracy in the region. Internet providers and content owners already attempted to come to terms face to face, but issues such as who pays the cost of enforcement led to talks largely going nowhere.

Now Attorney-General George Brandis and Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull have come up with a minimalist set of reforms for debate, and it means that downloaders will avoid harsh penalties, such as the throttling of speeds by the ISP.

The copyright lobby is likely to be unhappy with the proposals, despite opening the door to blocking access to websites overseas that provide access to illegal downloads.

"We have a very high rate of internet piracy in Australia, particular in film and TV product. At the same time and Malcolm Turnbull himself has commented on this I think we need to see more being done to make content more readily and more cheaply available," said Shadow attorney-general Mark Dreyfus, reports The Age.

"That's not something the government can be responsible for."

Website blocking has become a norm in Europe with courts in different states ordering ISPs to block access to sites like the Pirate Bay. Typically, these blocks can be easily circumvented by users through proxy and mirror websites, but last week a French court ordered a bunch of those sites blocked too.

Even without mirror and proxy sites, VPNs can often be used to circumvent blocks too, as can anonymous relay networks such as TOR. These will prove to be a much more difficult target for copyright enforcers to go after if they choose to.

Sources and Recommended Reading:
No harsh penalties for illicit downloaders under copyright reform:

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