Yesterday, private, mostly foreign owned, rent-seeking copyright maximalists and distribution monopolists celebrated on the dying corpse of Internet freedom in Australia, joyfully cheering in a censored Australian Internet by blocking torrent sites through major Australian ISPs[1]. Their attempts to control how people access content online will be little affected by their supposed gains because they simply don’t understand how the Internet works at a technical or social level. Their attempts as blocking “torrent” sites are laughable despite these companies trying to paint this as a big win.

“Corporations, some of which pay no company tax in Australia[2], yet pay large donations to political parties[3] are using this decision to paint a picture of despicable internet villans using technology to put the entertainment industry out of business,” said Michael Keating, Deputy President of Pirate Party Australia. “In reality, all Australians want is access to media content at a fair price and at the right time, and this decision does nothing to address this issue. If anything, it reinforces the monopoly these companies hold in refusing Australian’s access to content. This also demonstrates how content distribution companies are willing to twist our legal system in their favour by demanding censorship.”

The Internet recognises censorship as a damaged network, and routes around it. The protocols, systems and networks have already been built and have been in place for years to allow Australians to route around this new website blocking regime. There will be collateral damage to the Internet as a consequence of today’s ruling, because it fundamentally shifts the rights and freedoms of Australians to access information and culture online in an authoritarian direction. This censorship won’t be effective, it won’t be enough, and soon rights-holders will be calling for more censorship, harsher penalties and greater control over the online world.

Pirate Party Australia is relieved by the Court’s decision to not allow rolling injunctions, meaning there is some oversight to how sites are added. However given that two of the five sites listed are no longer in existence[4], it makes it hard to believe the government and content distributors are in touch with the real issues around these decisions, and we question exactly where we are headed from here. Given Graham Burke’s comments on who uses torrent sites, it’s also hard to see this as being anything other than the actions of vindictive corporations with no interest in Australian consumers.

Detail on how site blocking will be acheived is yet to be revealed, however schemes in other countries are laughably simple to bypass by either using external DNS servers or Virtual Private Networks (VPNs). Censoring the internet for corporate gain is nothing but a game of whack a mole that the content distribution companies are losing. Pirate Party Australia suggests these companies and the Federal government stop spending this significant amount of money for no result, instead to develop cost effective and timely access to content, which has been proven to reduce piracy activity globally[5].

“The decision in the Federal Court today brings into place a censorship regime aimed at stopping Australians from being able to access content online at the direction of rights-holders. It is laughably easy to circumvent and Pirate Party Australian pledges to publish guides explaining how, if you are a parent you can also just ask your kids.” said Simon Frew, Pirate Party President.

Pirate Party Australia will fight against attempts to weaken Internet freedom. We believe in a fast and open Internet underpinned by clear net neutrality principles.

[1] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-15/federal-court-orders-pirate-bay-blocked-in-australia/8116912
[2] http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-17/tax-transparency-report/7036708
[3] http://www.itnews.com.au/news/village-roadshow-boosts-donations-amidst-copyright-crackdown-399933
[4] https://torrentfreak.com/torrentz-remains-down-but-the-clone-wars-are-on-160813
[5] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/10187400/Spotify-and-Netflix-curb-music-and-film-piracy.html

7 comments on “Pirate Party condemns rights-holders for their continuing efforts to destroy Internet freedom in Australia

  1. this is a interesting subject , pirated software and or audio and or movies takes the money out of the companies that make such content available

    why should some people think they are entitled to use copyrighted works for free whilst everyone else has to purchase licences to use such products

    i am totally convinced if the hard liners on this subject has their own works on the web and their works were being pirated they would not be overly happy

    if you want to use the products just pay for them like every one else

    • The problem isn’t that people don’t want to pay for the content. It’s that there isn’t a better system. Pirating content is a massive bitch to do, the streaming sites never work and the torrent sites have virus filled ads but it’s still easier than everything else.

      I love Netflix’s system, it’s easy, it works and it has nothing I actually want to watch. Foxtell is expansive, I have to wait for shows I want and it still has Ads! People not wanting to pay money isn’t the issue here.

      “The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. It’s by giving those people a service that’s better than what they’re receiving from the pirates.” – Gabe Newell.

  2. A lot of torrent sites have other non-copyrighted stuff on them. Yet they will still be blocked.

    Given how easy it is to bypass the blocks, why even bother with the censorship?

  3. You should have quoted “Rights” holders.
    Because we don’t believe that you can censor material on a plethora of “Rights”.
    Rights are inherent to all human beings and can not be held by some and not others.
    In a society which respects freedom of culture, these “Rights” exist to everyone!

  4. The hold Idea of Copyright has completely gone far away from the original meaning.
    It never was about Control over information with 1000s of rights, where anyone who had the information or was sharing it would be treated as a Criminal.
    Copyright was about the promotion of science and innovation.
    Where authors could only claim things for a limited amount of time.
    the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers is not “Piracy” or “Criminal”, It is a Human Right!

  5. i would pay for services like stan or netflix if their australian servers actually had up to date and complete libraries.
    Instead we get 3 year old movies and tv shows that are 12 months or more behind the same service in the USA. That I am NOT ALLOWED to pay for.

    Until the government legislates this sort of activity as illegal. I shall continue to pirate content. happily and blatantly.

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