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Carriers To Block Millions Of Illegal Downloads After Court Order As Foxtel Go After Illegal Boxes

Millions of Australians who have been stealing music and movie content via Kick Arse Torrents, are set to find that their ISP’s have been ordered to switch off their supply following a Court ruling on Friday.

During the next 14 days’ domains linked to the torrent sharing service Kick Ass Torrents will be blocked by carriers such as Telstra, TPG, Optus, iiNet and most other ISP’s providing connectivity to the illegal content site.

At the same time, Foxtel is moving to block a further batch of copyright infringing websites as part of a co-ordinated effort by the pay TV giant, the recording industry and Hollywood studios to stamp out piracy in Australia.

The pay TV operator is expected to file an application in the Federal Court of NSW asking a judge to block a new list of pirating websites, Foxtel is owned by Telstra and News Corporation.

Also, heading to the Courts is Village Roadshow along with 21st Century Fox, Warner Bros, Disney, Paramount, and Columbia Pictures who are set to ask the Federal Court to block another 41 sites.

Kick Ass Torrents’ sites provides free content driven by millions of visits a month from Australian users and its breach of copyright was described as “flagrant” by Federal Court judge Stephen Burley in a judgment handed down late on Friday.

The orders came after the Australian arms of Universal Music, Australian Music Corporation, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music as well as the Australasian Performing Right Association, some of the world’s biggest music groups, teamed up to stamp out illegal downloads across the sites last year.

The move could see a major fall in data downloads for Telstra, Optus, TPG Telecom and Vocus, who are not opposed to the actions, are centred who takes on the financial burden, not whether they are offending websites should be blocked or not.

With rulings across film, TV and music, the court is now likely to follow precedent in future actions.

According to Fairfax Media, Foxtel is concentrating on offending websites which are copyright infringing content which it clearly owns, such as the TV drama Wentworth.

Foxtel, the film studios and record labels are working together on a coordinated campaign to block pirating websites to make sure they’re not targeting the same sites.

Foxtel chief executive Peter Tonagh said blocking piracy websites is just one part in protecting content owners’ rights.

“We don’t think it’s enough to just close the sites down. We’ll also have education campaign. There’s plenty of examples where these sites have viruses or credit card scams,” he said.

Village co-chief executive Graham Burke said his company’s action against 41 sites represents about 95 per cent of the movie trade.

“This is a seriously bad underbelly of thieves. People, I think, will realise that and hopefully do the right thing.”

Tonagh said there are sites advertising set-top boxes people can buy which allow consumers to illegally gain free access to Foxtel’s content. The subscription TV business is moving to block those sites as well as stamping out set-top box piracy with new smartcards.

Foxtel is also working closely with US-based companies Google and Facebook to prevent copyright infringement of major sporting events.

“The large number of monthly visits to the KAT website indicate that the infringement facilitated by the KAT website can be described as flagrant and reflect an open disregard for copyright on the part of the operators of the KAT website,” he said.

KAT has already been blocked in Britain, Ireland, Denmark, Italy, Finland and Belgium.

The SMH Said that the orders won’t necessarily stamp out the use of Kick Ass Torrents in Australia. When The Pirate Bay was blocked in December, a host of proxy sites popped up in its place. Those sites allowed Australian users to access the content loaded up to the platforms.

Kick Ass Torrents also has several proxy sites where thousands of movies, TV shows and music albums and singles can be downloaded for free.

The orders also allow for the music companies to contact the court if a new Kick Ass Torrent site rears its head and have that site name added to the list of blocked domains.


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