Roadshow takes aim at HD Subs streaming app

Roadshow has been granted a 'Christmas' directions hearing next week for its fight against the HD Subs app and website on smart TVs to download content, which could potentially require IP-address rather than DNS blocking.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Roadshow Films is seeking to have an alleged piracy-facilitating streaming app and associated website blocked by Australia's internet service providers, with the content owner again taking action in the Federal Court of Australia.

During a case-management hearing on Thursday, Roadshow -- which leads a group of film studios including Disney, Universal, Warner Bros, Twentieth Century Fox, and Paramount -- extended its reach from alleged illegal torrenting and streaming websites to smart TV boxes, which it said are able to download copyright-infringing content.

Cook, counsel for Roadshow, pointed towards the HD Subs app that can be used with the device, which facilitates streaming at a subscription cost of between $35 and $240.

The app itself isn't doing the streaming; it's an interface that allows the streaming to occur, Cook said. It enables access to live cable TV channels such as the BBC and on-demand content including TV series and movies, he claimed.

Users cannot get to the streaming locations without using the app, according to Roadshow, as it targets online locations through HDSubs.com. The website was unavailable when checked this morning, with Cook saying the app can be updated to use various other websites.

As a result, unless DNS blocking against HDSubs.com is used in the immediate future, users will be able to update over to another system and website, after which IP-address blocking would be necessary, Cook argued, adding that there is "some urgency".

Previously, the court has allowed ISPs to implement DNS blocking or any alternative means rather than specifically ordering IP-address blocking.

"If that's what you want to do, then you'll have to amend the orders and let the parties know," Nicholas J said.

"It's only the former [DNS blocking] that carriage service providers have agreed to in the past."

Cook suggested injunctive relief "to cut off the flow and stem the bleed with domain name blocking to stop the punters from [switching services]" prior to receiving final relief.

While Nicholas J declined to set a hearing date for December, saying it "would not be appropriate" in circumstances where Roadshow has not yet presented its evidence, he did grant a directions hearing for December 15 "because it's Christmas".

Roadshow will use the opportunity to file its evidence and seek an early hearing, Cook said, adding that in the event of a hearing, Roadshow's submissions should only take an hour and a half.

No ISPs were present for the proceedings, telling Roadshow they did not intend to be involved as long as the case followed the same lines as previous cases. Counsel for Roadshow said TPG was served with orders but did not respond.

During a similar case earlier this year, ISPs established the procedure of not being present during piracy site-blocking hearings, although Justice Nicholas said they still needed to file a response.

Roadshow had filed its latest proceedings at the end of October.

Its latest case follows a successful judgment in August that saw another swathe of torrenting and streaming sites blocked under Australian law, including Demonoid, ExtraTorrent, LimeTorrents, MegaShare, Piratebay.to, and EZTV.

On the same day, Foxtel won a case to block 127 domain names associated with Yes Movies, Vumoo, Los Movies, Cartoon HD, Putlocker, Watch Series 1, Watch Series 2, Project - Free TV, ProjectFreeTV, Watch Episodes, Watch Episode Series, Watch TV Series, The Dare TV, Putlocker9.is, Putlocker9.com, 1337x, and Torlock.

Foxtel has also appeared on the other side of a piracy site-blocking court case in its capacity as an ISP when four music studios -- Universal Music Australia, Sony Music Entertainment Australia, Warner Music Australia, and J Albert & Son -- successfully blocked Kickass Torrents and its related proxy websites in April.

Roadshow had additionally been successful in getting the Federal Court to order more than 50 ISPs to block the Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound, IsoHunt, and SolarMovie and their related proxy sites at the end of 2016.

Under that ruling, rights holders are to pay a AU$50 fee per domain they want to block, with the websites to be blocked within 15 business days.

Website blocking was legislated under the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act, which passed both houses of Parliament in mid-2015 and allows rights holders to obtain a court order to block websites hosted overseas that are deemed to exist for the primary purpose of infringing or facilitating infringement of copyright under Section 115A.

Previous Coverage

Federal Court blocks another 42 piracy sites

Roadshow's bid to have 42 alleged torrenting and streaming sites including Demonoid, ExtraTorrent, LimeTorrents, MegaShare, Piratebay.to, and EZTV blocked by Federal Court has been successful.

Village Roadshow targets 40 sites for piracy website blocking

Village Roadshow's new five-point plan for combating copyright infringement includes site blocking, suing infringers, and a 'major PR campaign' as it aims to block 40 more websites that it says are responsible for 90 percent of piracy.

Foxtel wins court case to block over 120 piracy sites

Foxtel's bid to have more than 120 alleged piracy sites including Yes Movies, Los Movies, Watch Series, 1337x, and Putlocker blocked by the Federal Court has been successful.

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