The Australian Government is proposing significant amendments to the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth), intended to target online piracy. The key proposals would extend the potential liability of ISPs for authorisation of copyright infringement and allow rights holders to seek injunctions making ISPs block access to overseas websites.

The proposals would allow rights holders to obtain orders against an ISP to block access to identified internet websites operated outside Australia where the dominant purpose of the website is to infringe copyright.  There would be no need to establish that a particular ISP had authorised infringement.  There would also be the option of listing several ISPs in the order, reducing the incidence of evasion of such orders by switching service providers.

The discussion paper poses a number of questions regarding how costs are best shared between industry participants, the matters the court should consider when determining whether to grant an injunction to block access to a particular website and what impact the proposals are likely to have on an organisation. Industry views are also sought on alternative measures that may be more effective in reducing online copyright infringement.

The media release can be found here and discussion paper here. The deadline for submissions is 1 September 2014.