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Federal Court of Australia decision:  Roadshow Films Pty Limited v Telstra Corporation Limited [2020] FCA 507 (20 April 2020)

Copyright owners have the ability under s115A of the Act to apply to the court for injunctions that require internet service providers to restrict access in Australia to overseas websites that, in essence, infringe or have the primary purpose of facilitating infringement of copyright.  

After a number of examples, this type of case was becoming somewhat routine, but in this case the Court proposed a new style of “responsive and adaptive” injunction that will permit the copyright owners, without returning to Court to seek amendments to the order, to follow a prescribed process to themselves extend the injunction if the infringing websites move to new domain names, IP addresses or URLs. This is novel, no doubt intended to address the “whack-a-mole” problem of online infringement, where another infringing site poops up as soon as the previous one has been shut down. 

This is the first such order since the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2018 amended s115A(4) of the Act to permit such orders. (This type of expanding injunction is specifically limited to this type of case, but if successful, could it be legislatively rolled out further to affect a broader range of scenarios?)

Notable also is the collection of multiple applicants (11) from differing corporate groups protecting different films, the number of respondents (50 – presumably as many Australian ISPs as possible), and the large number of target websites (86) that were providing infringing access to this range of films. 

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