Australian government to introduce new ‘rapid takedown’ anti-piracy legislation

Australia's government has made a number of serious attempts to combat online piracy in recent years. Back in 2015, it introduced the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill, which gave the Federal Court authority to have numerous online piracy sites blocked by internet service providers (ISPs).

Since then, according to the government, online copyright infringement has dropped, although several injunctions are still pending in the court.

However, it seems the government isn’t happy with its efforts so far, and will be introducing new legislation to Parliament today to stop internet piracy in the country once and for all.

Walk the plank

Despite having already blocked hundreds of domains in Australia, Communication Minister Mitch Fifield is pushing for tougher laws that will enable authorities stop a wider range of sites and ban new ones as and when they make an appearance online.

The proposed law will force search engines (Google, Yahoo and Bing for example) from allowing torrent sites to appear in search results.

According to Village Roadshow chief Graham Burke, search engines are “unashamedly facilitating crime” by promoting piracy sites.

Speaking to News Corp, Burke said, “We see good Google and bad Google. But bad Google is as evil as Big Tobacco was 30 years ago. They know what they’re doing. They know they’re facilitating and enabling crime and it’s time for them to clean their act up.” 

That might seem a tad harsh, but the proposed legislation is designed to strengthen the existing laws and give content creators and owners more power when approaching the courts for help.

Taking a toll

Google already has a policy of carefully reviewing requests to remove any material that infringes copyright laws. According to the company’s online transparency report, Google has received nearly 3.8 billion such requests across over 2 million unique website domains.

However, according to TorrentFreak, Google has historically not supported whole-site removal. Instead, the search giant has, as of June this year, downranked over 65,000 pirate sites in its search results.

Sharmishta Sarkar
Managing Editor (APAC)

Sharmishta is TechRadar's APAC Managing Editor and loves all things photography, something she discovered while chasing monkeys in the wilds of India (she studied to be a primatologist but has since left monkey business behind). While she's happiest with a camera in her hand, she's also an avid reader and has become a passionate proponent of ereaders, having appeared on Singaporean radio to talk about the convenience of these underrated devices. When she's not testing camera kits or the latest in e-paper tablets, she's discovering the joys and foibles of smart home gizmos. She's also the Australian Managing Editor of Digital Camera World and, if that wasn't enough, she contributes to T3 and Tom's Guide, while also working on two of Future's photography print magazines Down Under.