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Australian ISPs confirm non-attendance in Roadshow site-blocking hearing

The court process will be quicker with most of the targeted internet service providers -- including Telstra, Optus, and Vocus -- confirming their intention to not appear in court or contest the application for injunction.
Written by Tas Bindi, Contributor

Entertainment company Village Roadshow has initiated legal action to block 41 websites belonging to popular torrent, streaming, and direct download sites including Demonoid, ExtraTorrent, LimeTorrents, and EZTV.

The court process will be quicker with none of the targeted internet service providers (ISPs) -- including Telstra, Optus, and Vocus -- intending to appear in court, with TPG being the possible exception.

TPG indicated that it will appear in court if Roadshow changes the orders it is seeking or if the court decides to adjust them, counsel representing Roadshow said at a case management hearing at the NSW Federal Court on Thursday.

The next hearing, which is scheduled to take place on May 10, is expected to last only half a day as a result of ISPs confirming non-attendance.

The presiding judge at Thursday's case management hearing, Justice Nicholas, said Roadshow will have to prove that the 41 sites in question had engaged in or facilitated copyright infringement. Additionally, the company will have to prove that the sites are hosted overseas and that it has contacted the sites' owners.

Nicholas J suggested to counsel that a consistent glossary be used in the company's applications, adding that it's unhelpful to submit a 30-page affidavit about how the internet works.

He also advised counsel to provide an evidence schedule outlining what site shared what content on what date -- with samples of 20 or so well-known commercially-released films -- and to conduct live demonstrations of piracy sites instead of providing a collection of screenshots.

The judge requested for counsel to use its own devices and internet during the piracy site demonstrations to ensure the Federal Court's infrastructure is not affected.

Roadshow's legal action against the piracy sites follows the successful applications for injunction last year by the entertainment company and Foxtel.

In December, more than 50 internet service providers (ISPs) in Australia -- including Telstra, Optus, M2, and TPG -- were ordered by the Federal Court to start blocking access to sites linked to online piracy. The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, TorrentHound, IsoHunt, SolarMovie were among the domains affected by the injunction.

The ruling meant, however, that content owners would have to pay a fee of AU$50 per domain they want blocked.

Roadshow, which leads a group of film studios including Disney, Paramount, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros, indicated its intention to continue its crackdown on piracy sites in its half-yearly results in February.

Along with the blocking of torrenting websites, the company said it plans to work with Google to ensure page rankings for piracy websites are demoted. It will also push a public relations campaign to educate content consumers and wants to ensure the availability of legal alternatives. "Suing infringers" is another point in Roadshow's plan, which was inspired by the Korean model of piracy crackdowns.

Roadshow reported that piracy in Korea slid by 90 percent from 2008 to 2016.

The list of targeted sites reads as follows:

  • EZTV
  • KissCartoon
  • WatchFree
  • PrimeWire
  • Movie4k
  • WatchSeries
  • Alluc
  • Phimmoi
  • 123Movies
  • Couchtuner
  • FMovies
  • XMovies8
  • Putlocker
  • EYNY
  • MegaShare
  • GenVideos
  • Spacemov
  • Kinogo
  • Viooz
  • HDmovieswatch
  • Xemphimso
  • Shush
  • ExtraTorrent
  • YTS
  • Yify
  • Torrent Downloads
  • Bitsnoop
  • Demonoid
  • Limetorrents
  • Tehparadox
  • Torrentproject
  • Icefilms
  • Piratebay.to
  • Softarchive
  • Rlsbb
  • Extra.to
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