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Tougher laws to fight online piracy now a reality

by Media Release

Stronger laws to crack down on online pirates will commence shortly after the Morrison Government’s Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2018 passed the Parliament on Wednesday.

The Bill strengthens the capacity of Australia's creative industries to fight copyright infringement through injunctions issued by the Federal Court.

Minister for Communications and the Arts Mitch Fifield said the new laws will leave less room for harmful online pirates to sidestep Australia's tough blocking measures.

"The Government has zero tolerance for online piracy. It is theft, and damaging to our creative economy and local creators. We are committed to protecting Australia's creative industries and the world-class content we produce every year," Minister Fifield said.

"The passage of our legislation today sends a strong message to online pirates that Australia does not tolerate online theft."

The new laws enable the Federal Court to make injunctions that target a broader range of infringing websites, and provide a means to block proxy and mirror pirate sites more quickly.The amendments also allow copyright owners to seek Federal Court orders requiring search engines to demote or remove search results for infringing sites, further strengthening the existing website blocking scheme introduced by the Government in 2015.

The Government will review the effectiveness of the changes in two years.

Free TV Australia CEO Bridget Fair welcomed the move, stating: "This legislation is a critical tool for content owners, including broadcasters, to protect their content against large-scale online piracy.

"Importantly, it acknowledges the role that online search engines play in facilitating access to pirated material. Content creators will now be able to seek orders to demote or remove search results for infringing sites."

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