Last night, the Australian Parliament passed legislation that will allow copyright owners to obtain injunctions against foreign copyright-infringing websites from the Federal Court.

The Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015 reflects the recent report of the Senate’s legislative review committee (discussed here), which recommended that the legislation be passed, particularly given the “significant threat” to Australia’s creative industries posed by online copyright infringement. The Committee also made several sensible recommendations for changes to the text of the Bill, which are largely reflected in the final form of the legislation.

This is a very significant development which brings Australia’s copyright laws into line with other important jurisdictions, in particular the UK, Europe and Singapore. The UK in particular has been an important centre for the development of law and practice in this area, with the UK High Court now regularly issuing blocking injunctions against the world’s largest pirate websites. These injunctions appear to have had a substantial deterrent effect on piracy, with minimal downside for ISPs and other internet users.

The Act will come into force once it has received royal assent.