The cost burden of implementing domain blockades is front and centre in the fight to block illegal torrent websites.
COST considerations have become a major sticking point in efforts made by rights holders to have Australian internet service providers block illegal torrent websites. Foxtel is seeking to force ISPs to block online file sharing websites including The Pirate Bay, Torrentz and isoHunt while Village Roadshow has launched a motion to have streaming site Solarmovie blocked.
The co-ordinated applications are the first initiatives to test the site-blocking waters since the passage of the controversial Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015.On Friday, Australia’s major ISPs involved in the proceedings including Telstra, Optus, TPG (including its subsidiary iiNet) and M2 said they will not contest the site-blocking orders, however they don’t believe they should have to pay for their implementation should they come to pass.
A similar dispute between ISPs and rights holders over who would shoulder the cost of a three strikes plan to send infringement notices to pirates caused the scheme to be abandoned earlier this year. Once again the viability of the scheme will come down to the newly-created expense and who has to bear the brunt of it.
Both TPG and M2 have submitted estimates for how much it would cost them to block the domains of the offending sites.
While TPG estimated it could block sites at a cost of about $50 per domain, M2’s estimates were significantly higher with cost expectations between $400 and $800 per domain.The other ISPs will submit their estimates to the court in the coming weeks.
In order for the rights holders to have the targeted sites blocked they must convince the court that the primary purpose of such sites is “to infringe, or to facilitate the infringement of, copyright”.
The case will return to court for an additional hearing on the blocking application on June 23.
In the meantime, a separate case brought by the music industry will keep the focus on internet filtering after the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and the nation’s music royalties body APRA AMCOS joined forces to launch their own site blocking application last month. That case is scheduled to be in court on June 6.