28 November 2022CopyrightStaff Writer

Disney and Warner Bros secure win in Australian piracy war

Internet service providers ordered to shutter access to cyberlocker site | Movies pirated include “The Lego Movie”, “Cinderella” and “Transformers: Age of Extinction” | Move follows similar orders in the UK and India.

A group of film studios, including Disney, Warner Bros, and the streaming platform Netflix have won the latest battle in a war on piracy in Australia.

In a decision handed down on Friday, 25 November, the Federal Court of Australia ordered 51 respondents to disable access to a cyberlocker known as Mixdrop.

A cyberlocker is an online storage and distribution facility where copyright-protected material is uploaded and downloaded in breach of copyright.

Films made available on Mixdrop include “The Lego Movie” (Roadshow/Village Roadshow), “Cinderella” (Disney), “Transformers: Age of Extinction” (Paramount), "The Shallows” (Columbia) and “Jurassic World” (Universal). Each of the copyright owners are applicants in the case.

According to evidence, Mixdrop hosts more than one million files, the majority of which are commercially related movies and television programmes.

The respondents—which include internet service providers Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone—have 15 days after service of the site blocking orders to disable access.

The site blocking orders were made under section 115A of the Copyright Act 1968 and will remain in place for a period of three years (which is extendable for a further three-year period).

“Mixdrop does not provide an index or directory of material available for download at the site. However, it is clear from the evidence that the operator of the site is facilitating infringement on a large scale and that it does so with a complete disregard for copyright owners’ rights,” said Justice Nicholas, on behalf of the court.

Nicholas added: “The facilitation of copyright infringement by the operator may be characterised as flagrant.”

Site blocking orders targeting Mixdrop have also been made in the UK and India, according to the court.

This order is the latest development in the studios’ campaign against piracy in Australia.

In February this year, the Federal Court issued site blocking orders for 34 pirate sites, after concluding that the “primary purpose or effect of each of the target online locations is to infringe, or to facilitate the infringement of copyright in these cinemograph films, including copyright owned by the applicants”.

In late 2021, the court ordered the internet service providers to block access to more than 100 domains.

And, back in 2019, WIPR  reported that the studios had won a court order to block 76 piracy websites owned and operated by 51 entities.

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