Telstra begins blocking pirates following Federal Court decision

Telstra follows through on Federal Court order to block piracy sites such as The Pirate Bay.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor
Screenshot: ZDNet

Telstra customers looking to download content from certain torrent sites will be denied access after the telecommunications provider has started blocking domain names in response to a Federal Court directive.

The blocked access comes after the Federal Court of Australia last week determined that piracy sites The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound, and isoHunt, and their related domains, will need to be blocked by internet service providers (ISPs).

"Access to this website has been disabled by an order of the Federal Court of Australia because it infringes or facilitates the infringement of copyright," Telstra's landing message reads.

Several ISPs including Telstra, Optus, M2, and TPG were ordered on Thursday by Justice Nicholas to block known piracy websites within 15 days of his determination, under section 115A of the Copyright Act, which requires rights holders such as Foxtel and Roadshow Films to pay a fee of AU$50 per domain name in order to have the sites blocked.

Content owners now have the ability to seek injunctions against ISPs ordering them to block access to overseas-based sites that infringe or facilitate copyright infringement.

"Pursuant to order two, Optus now has 15 business days to disable access to the target online locations," an Optus spokesperson told ZDNet.

"When calculating a period of time fixed by an order of the court under the Federal Court Rules, public holidays and the period from December 24 to January 14 will be excluded. As such, the date for compliance with order two is January 27, 2017."

Foxtel said last week it was delighted with the court's decision.

"This judgment is a major step in both directly combating piracy and educating the public that accessing content through these sites is not OK, in fact it is theft," Foxtel chief executive Peter Tonagh said.

ZDNet has reached out to TPG for comment.

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