Emil Ford Lawyers

Website-blocking injunctions provide new remedies for copyright owners

After a lengthy process of public consultation, the Copyright Act 1968 (the Act) has recently been amended to provide a new remedy to owners of copyright.  The Act now allows a copyright owner to apply to the Federal Court for an injunction requiring an Internet Service Provider to disable access to an "online location" operating outside of Australia, provided that the primary purpose of the online location is to infringe, or to facilitate the infringement of copyright.

In determining whether to grant an injunction the court will take into consideration:

  • the seriousness of infringement;
  • whether the website owner/operator demonstrates a disregard for copyright generally;
  • the proportionality of disabling access.

This is an important breakthrough for copyright owners because it provides a no fault mechanism, and requires Internet Service Providers to co-operate in blocking access to infringing websites, which will limit the time and cost required to obtain an injunction.  This remedy was previously only available against local websites, and forms part of the Australian Government's wider response to online piracy, which includes a three-strike notice scheme, currently awaiting registration by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Copyright is an area of law that requires careful consideration as it arises automatically in subsisting works, can be easy to infringe, and difficult to enforce.  Organisations, whether charitable or not, should be careful to obtain appropriate licences before using copyright material.  Likewise, creators of copyright material are encouraged to protect their works by obtaining licences from business partners and contractors.

If you have any questions about a copyright or intellectual property related matter, please contact .

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