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Weekly updates

In a concerning move, the Liberal and Labor parties have once again joined forces in Federal Parliament, this time pushing forward the ‘Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015’ through the Senate.  This bill is intended to give rights holders such as television and movie producers the ability to apply to the Federal Court to have foreign ‘piracy-related’ websites blocked in Australia.

If the Federal Court then deems that the primary purpose of the offending website is to ‘infringe or facilitate the infringement of copyright’ the Federal Court will order Australian ISPs to block the website.  While we are all thinking ‘Fuck, where am I going to download the latest episode of [insert title here] from?” the long-term effects of the bill could be more fundamental.

As one of the few senators to oppose the bill, Scott Ludlam said “the potential down the track is for the scope of the bill to be broadened and for the extremely loose and poorly defined language in the bill to be exploited”.

The actual potential for the bill to achieve its intended purpose, blocking infringement breaking foreign websites, has been mocked by many – including the co-founder of one of those sites most likely to be affected by the bill; ‘The Pirate Bay’. Peter Sunde explained that all these measures that would be introduced by Parliament could easily be circumvented, describing the bill as a ‘wack-a-mole game’.

“People aren’t stupid and there’s really easy alternatives to circumvent most of these [website blocking] legislations. So it becomes a kind of whack-a-mole game, and like a nuclear arms race as well, because you will have to block the next thing that will help people to circumvent things.”

While the roll-out of the bill is now imminent, the way that the wider  Australian community adapts to the proposed changes remains to be seen. It seems like total internet freedom is a thing of the past for our ‘lucky country’.

Luke Karakas


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