Sites that allow illegal downloads will be shut off in Australians under new laws.
Sites that allow illegal downloads will be shut off in Australians under new laws. David Stuart

Anti-piracy laws pass the senate, but don't include VPNs

IT JUST got a little harder to download your favourite television shows, movies or music after the government's anti-piracy legislation passed through the Senate.

Sites that allow illegal downloads will be shut off to Australians under the new laws - but only if they are operated overseas.

The anti-piracy legislation also empowers copyright holders to apply for a court injunction to block overseas websites that offer content that infringes copyright.

The Federal Court must consider the seriousness of the infringement, whether blocking access is appropriate or in the public interest and the impact on people likely to be affected when granting an injunction.

But the legislation does not cover the use of virtual private networks or VPNs where users can hide their location to access overseas sites.

Foxtel chief Richard Freudenstein said in a statement on Tuesday that he was pleased the government had taken strong action.

"They recognise that not only is piracy theft and therefore morally wrong, it is harmful to Australia's creative communities and to businesses that employ hundreds of thousands of Australians," he said.

"These offshore sites are not operated by noble spirits fighting for the freedom of the internet.

"They are run by criminals who profit from stealing other people's creative endeavours."

The legislation passed on Monday night with bipartisan support but the Greens failed in their attempt to have the laws amended to include VPNs.

Crossbench Senators David Leyonhjelm, Ricky Muir and Glenn Lazarus opposed the legislation with Senator Leyonhjelm saying website blocking was a drastic remedy and a blunt tool.

Similar legislation was introduced in 2011 in the UK with little success after users simply started using proxy websites that stop internet service providers from knowing they are visiting the blocked websites.


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