The Australian Department of Communications and Arts has commenced a consultation into the effectiveness of the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Act 2015 (Amendment) which was implemented in an attempt to reduce the downloading of copyright material. The Amendment became law in 2015 and enabled copyright holders to apply to court to block access to online locations operated outside Australia which provided links to copyrighted material. The Federal Court issued orders under the new law to a number of ISPs in December 2016 to block various proxy and mirror services.

The consultation asked whether:

  • the mechanism introduced by the Amendment is effective and efficient;
  • the application process is working well for parties and the injunctions are operating well once granted; and
  • there are any amendments required to improve the operation of the Amendment.

Originally the Amendment contained a mechanism requiring it to be reviewed after 18 months however this was delayed to allow more time for evidence to surface. The Government has stated that there is evidence showing a reduction in copyright infringement in Australia as a result of the new law. It is said that illegal downloading fell slightly between 2015 and 2017 and there was a 5-10% decrease between these years in individual consumption of unlawful content in movies, music and television.

Written submissions in response to the review questions were accepted until 16 March 2018 and we will keep you updated on the outcome.