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roadshow films pty ltd and others v telstra corporation ltd and others

This Federal Court of Australia case resulted in domain name blocking orders being enacted against 86 video piracy websites under s115A of the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth).

While blocking orders like these have been granted before, this is a case involving the more recent section 115A(2B) process.  This process allows the Plaintiffs to issue updates to the court orders, with lists of new domain names to be blocked, but without the need to institute new legal proceedings.

key takeaways

  • The blocking orders must be brought by the copyright owner, but this element can also be satisfied by an exclusive licensee (applying Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd v TPG Internet Pty Ltd (2017) 348 ALR 493).
  • It is recognised that a common response to blocking orders, is for an existing website (called a “Target Online Location”) to be re-published under a new domain address or have some proxy or navigation service set-up which allows re-accessing the website.
  • The purpose of allowing the updates of the domain name blocking orders, is to allow the Plaintiffs to stop these re-publishing or re-accessing activities.  Therefore, for any updates, the Plaintiffs are required to include a written notice that contains-
    • the new domain addresses; and
    • a statement that they certify that they believe in good faith, that these new Domain Name, IP Addresses or URLs, are a new location for one of the Target Online Locations which are already subject to the blocking orders.
  • This means that any new allegedly infringing websites, aren’t allowed to be included in any updates and can only be blocked via fresh court proceedings.