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New Piracy Blocking Order in Australia, Perhaps Congress Will Take a Look

By , in Anti-Piracy australia congress DNS Site Blocking united states , at May 9, 2024

kangaroo-ozAfter almost a decade of fine-tuning, including amendments to copyright law, the administration of Australia’s pirate site-blocking system looks organized and reliable.

Applications for injunctions filed at Federal Court are usually headed by local movie company Village Roadshow, with the main beneficiaries the major Hollywood studios, Netflix, and more recently, Apple.

This familiar format was evident again in a March application which requested ISP blocking measures against around three dozen pirate sites.

The Australian system is thorough but hasn’t always displayed the type of responsiveness needed to tackle a constantly shifting pirate marketplace.

More recently, however, the time between application and blocking injunction has contracted. In this case the time between rightsholders filing a statement of claim/originating application and obtaining an injunction was less than two months.

Justice Halley’s order dated May 8, 2024, was handed down Wednesday.

timelineThe order requires around 34 sites to be blocked by DNS tampering, IP address blocking or re-routing, URL blocking in respect of the target URLs and domain names, or any alternative means agreed between rightsholders and ISPs.

The full list of sites targeted, their domains and IP addresses, can be found at the end of this article. The summary reads as follows:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

The list of domains has plenty of recognizable brands but the fact they’ve appeared in a court order at all suggests they’re imposter sites with no connections or no provable connections to their previously-blocked namesakes. Australia’s blocking is carried out on a dynamic basis, meaning that a site can still be blocked regardless of domain or brand identity changes.

Blocking in Australia Marketed as a Success

After the MPA recently announced that it’s working with Congress to introduce site-blocking legislation in the United States, attention will inevitably turn to other countries where blocking has shown good results. Likely candidates include Australia, United Kingdom, and Portugal.

Whether site-blocking has been effective in Australia (or indeed anywhere else in the world) mostly finds answers in studies carried out on behalf of the MPA. We’ve reported on almost all of them and while the research itself doesn’t raise immediate concerns, some subsequently reported conclusions are difficult to square, not just with the position on the ground, but with the scale of subsequent blocking activity.

MPA report to Congress in 2023: The evidence shows that site blocking is effective both in reducing traffic to pirate websites and increasing the use of legitimate services. A site-blocking order applicable to the main access providers in a given country effectively reduces traffic to the targeted piracy domains in the period after blocking is implemented. For example, blocking 53 piracy websites in the United Kingdom caused an 88% drop in visits to the blocked sites and an 80% to 95% drop across user groups in other waves. Additionally, analysis in Australia, Portugal, and South Korea found average drops in visits to blocked sites of between 60 and 90% (pdf).

Of course, when the domains of pirate websites are suddenly blocked by a country’s main ISPs, a significant drop in traffic to the domains that have been blocked is the inevitable outcome. The reality is that when domains are blocked, pirate sites know instantly, and since it takes minutes or even seconds to switch to a replacement domain or subdomain, the effectiveness of blocking finds itself immediately undermined.

That being said, there is credible evidence to show that users affected by a blocking wave in Australia “increased consumption of content on legal viewing sites in the post-period following the blocking by 5%.” That 5% is not insignificant but the uplift refers to a traffic measurement, not an increase in subscription uptake.

More Blocking is Always Needed

Australia doesn’t publish an official blocklist so again, figures produced by those requesting the blocking is the only information readily available. What we can say with some certainty is that in early 2023, 2,000 domains had been subjected to blocking orders by the Federal Court.

To that background, a study carried out by the MPA found that there were 1.8 billion visits to pirate sites from Australian IP addresses in 2022, up 10% on similar research a year earlier.

Another claim from last year by Creative Content Australia stated the following: 6.3 million Australians aged 13+ have experienced a cybersecurity issue while pirating with 82% of teens and 72% of adults falling victim to fraud, malware or identity theft

Taken at face value, that sounds like eight in every ten teenagers aren’t finding blocking particularly effective.

In the UK, another country likely to be held up as an example of what blocking looks like when done properly, a conservative 10,000 domains have been blocked and piracy rates have remained static for years.

So for now, the sites listed below will soon be placed on Australia’s blacklist. Tests today reveal that some may have disappeared. Others already have new domains.

Blocking may still have some benefits but, in general, it just doesn’t really look like it.

The latest blocking order is available here (pdf)

No. Target Online Location Target Domain Names Target URLs Target IP Addresses
1 gimy
4 cataz
7 thesoap2day
9 watch4freemovies
10 putlockersgo
12 watchseriesclick
14 projectfreetv
15 ev01
16 serieshd
17 musichq
18 moviehdkh
19 123series
20 flixhd
21 Movies Portal
22 project-free tv
23 emovies
24 moviekhhd
25 uflix
26 watchseries1
27 suge anime/animesuge
29 m4ufree
30 ymovies
31 abc proxy
32 thekickasstorrentsproxy
33 rarbg portal

From: TF, for the latest news on copyright battles, piracy and more.

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