Village Roadshow Using New Laws To Block Australian Pirate Sites

Village Roadshow will team up with Hollywood heavyweights in the Australian Federal Court to force internet service providers to block customers' access to a website that streams copyrighted movies and TV shows like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and Deadpool. This move is the first major test of Australia's new site-blocking laws under the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 introduced in the middle of last year.

The site that Village and its Hollywood compatriots are trying to block is SolarMovie, a site registered to a Phillipines domain name that provides links to stream hundreds of allegedly copyright-infringing movies and TV shows online. According to the site, "SolarMovie provides links to other sites on the internet and doesn't host any files itself", but it is the links and access that Village will be objecting to in Federal Court.

In partnership with Warner Bros, 21st Century Fox, Paramount, Universal, Sony and Disney, Village Roadshow will attempt to have SolarMovie blocked by ISPs in Australia, restricting users from accessing the sites from an Australian IP -- although VPN access is unlikely to be affected as it is impossible to effectively enforce. According to the SMH, other rights-holders are preparing Federal Court actions, including Foxtel and Australia's music industry, to block similar copyright infringing sites.

Speaking to SMH, Village Roadshow chief exec Graham Burke said that the move was intended to block "parasites" that cost the film industry and other creative media millions of dollars invested in the production of movies and TV shows hosted by sites like SolarMovie. "The pirates, they steal other people's creativity and they have advertising and it's millions of dollars and they provide nothing. Not one job or any creative input into the community." There is little likelihood that Village will be unsuccessful in its attempt, as SolarMovie does not appear to have any links to any Australian companies or individuals that would be able to speak in its defence.

In the most recent high-profile copyright infringement case to go before the Federal Court, Dallas Buyers Club rights-holder Voltage Pictures failed in its attempt to gain access to the user details of 4726 iiNet customers that it alleged had downloaded or partially downloaded copies of the movie through Bit-Torrent. That legal action was seen as potentially precedent-setting for rights-holders pursuing infringers within Australia, but DBC gave up on the attempt after being stymied by court restrictions on the data it could access and continual rebuffing on the nature of the infringement letters it intended to send iiNet customers.

Here's The First Demand Made Under Australia's New Site Blocking Laws



    It's a bit like weeding a garden, no matter how hard you try the only thing that works is poisoning the ecosystem.

      Quick, lets ban street directories and GPS navigation as they show how to get to your local library so you can photocopy.

      It's kind of like weeding a garden, in that I'm sick of these pests and just want to pour a litre of insecticide down Graham Bourke's throat.


      That's what I thought! Had never heard of it until today. Start with the small fry and work your way up to the big fish, I guess? This is what court precedents are all about.

        Hmm, seems a bit strange but I guess that is a good idea. More reason for VPN's I guess.

        I'm guessing that this case is, at least partially, in response to the steaming feature that has recently been added to the bigger torrent sites. If they are successful in blocking SolarMovie then they will be able to block the other sites for the same reason, which they have been unsuccessful in doing up til now.

          Bingo. The aim is to make it difficult/scary/effort enough to dissuade your average 45yo dummy. One click streaming? That's easy for anyone. Which is why it's a problem for these clowns.

          They are never going to stop the kids with seedboxes and private sites, but they are a tiny (and irrelevant) proportion of the population. Hell, they can barely stop the halfway-adept 16yo who knows what a mirror site is. But they can stop your dad or your tech illiterate ex girlfriend.

          80/20 and all that.

        ... also I like todays news, Village Roadshow wants to shut down a site many people may of not heard of by telling exact the URL today. I want to see the traffic numbers of that site and see if it jumped today :P

      I use it quite often. It's actually pretty good. Usually has all the latest movies. I also use putlocker. I probably use that the most. As long as they stay away from putlocker....

        Putlocker is great. But there are plenty of others to take the slack when these go down.

      Village are great at providing free advertising to these 'parasites'.

    From what I've read they're planning to use DNS blocking to prevent access. In other words, you won't even need a VPN to avoid the blockade - just use OpenDNS or Google's DNS or something and congratulations, you just told Village Roadshow to f*ck off.

    In short:

      "Block Google DNS to be able to get around Netflix changes."
      "Use Google DNS to be able to get around blocked site restrictions."

      Not hard to successfully get around both, but will be a pain sorting it out for the rest of family & friends who'll need it done too.

      Last edited 18/02/16 12:48 pm

    Hey Village, how about you stop wasting all this time and money on blocking sites and telling people that piracy is bad and focus on why people pirate. Create a think tank of people who torrent and find out why and how to combat it. Toughing your weight around like this banning sites is not the answer.

      Everybody knows piracy is bad/illegal/immoral but it doesn't stop them. OTOH, taking people to court or making it too hard for the average punter are very effective methods of stopping the vast majority of casual pirates.

        What is actually really bad is the irrepressible greed of the owners of copyrighted content.

        No, these court cases have just made people more effective at hiding their activities. VPN companies have seen a massive upsurge in people purchasing their services since the joke of a attempt to crack down on piracy.

        Look back to when prohibition was a thing, Did it stop people drinking? Nope, just drove it underground and made it harder for authorities to detect.

        "Everybody knows piracy is bad/illegal/immoral but it doesn't stop them." -- Not having a shot at you, as I do agree there is a bad/illegal/immoral angle to things, but the flipside to this is that there are plenty of studies that show that downloaders are also amongst the heaviest spenders. So how bad/illegal/immoral is it if that person is not a lost sale, but a tech savvy consumer?

        If I miss The Martian in the cinemas (sitting through a 2 hour session is painful most of the time), download it and watch it, then go buy it day 1, what damage have I done to the industry?

        There are plenty of reports out there that support the fact downloaders are also amongst the heaviest spenders on content. The reason is simple - they have an interest, so spend money on that interest, which is far more than someone that doesnt feel the need for a movie collection at all so spend $0 buying content anyway.

        Do a survey, ask people how many movies they own, then ask the same group who downloads, and you'll find the group that owns movies will also be the biggest downloaders.

      Actually torrenting is a dirty word in their offices and anyone who makes mention of the practice is frowned upon. Apparently in the past people had been fired who had admitted (loudly) for the practice.

    I went to Village for the first time in years to watch the 4th Star Wars movie. The movie was great, the experience reminded me why I hadn't been to a cinema in a very long time.

      You haven't been to the Hoyts Cinemas in Canberra - all cinemas have leather recliner seats with electronic controls, definitely worth it!

        This is a fairly recent upgrade; just a few months prior, the seats and theaters could only be described as putrid. It made me feel dirty being in there, and I'm no germophobe. I haven't noticed if they do a better job of clearing out all the garbage between screenings now.

      Same experience here.

      Look cinemas, you can give me the best seats and beer and food in the world, you'll still get a bad NPS from me because that food and drink is ridiculously over priced, and moreover you advertise the movie starting at 10:30pm but in reality it starts at 11:08pm because of all the damn advertisements! That's just a terrible user experience.

    Yeaaa lets see how that works.... (looks towards the VPN shortcut on my desktop)

    Good luck to them. Torrent sites are like a Hydra... Cut one head off and two more appear.

    Thanks for pointing this out site, Graham - didn't know about it. You clown.

    *whistles a sea-shanty*

    I can't speak for ALL copyright infringers, obviously, but I have a feeling that an about-face on fucking the consumer in the ear re: pricing, release dates, and the general abomination that is the average menu-shackled movie DVD might result in some impressed abstinence from copyright infringement.

    Certainly, I feel like it would have a far greater impact than effectively stomping feet, throwing a tantrum, and flipping the bird at pirates, challenging them to get past the new (laughable) security measures.

    Graham Burke is a parasite whose blustering indignation contributes nothing of value to our community. His words have zero weight in a population who's sick of being taken for granted. He's just chucking a hissy-fit that people are no longer interested in his over-priced and outdated business model.

    If his company wants customers again, perhaps he could try overhauling his business to ensure simultaneous global releases of new content, reasonable pricing and a well-designed website for on-demand video. You know, like that Netflix company that all the kids are talking about.

    Lol so they're wanting to block these providers... but NOT thepiratebay, kickasstorrents, or any of the MANY other major sharing sites?

      If they are successful at getting this one blocked there will then be precedence for the others.

    Kill all the ants in one nest but there are others outside building more. A fortune is paid to movie actors, etc; and the general public are supposed to keep feeding them.
    Burke is a frenzied fool, he keeps trying to stop a train with a toothpick.

    Last edited 18/02/16 4:49 pm

    Censorship doesn't work, and people try even harder to get something that is banned.

    I have no problem with studios asking for sites that illegally publish there content to be blocked but surely they know it is a loosing battle.

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