More than 60 websites devoted to helping people illegally download films and television shows will be blocked in Australia, the country’s Federal Court ruled on Thursday, in a landmark victory for content providers.
News Corp’s local cable TV company Foxtel and cinema owner Village Roadshow Ltd won the case, which requires internet service providers such as Telstra Corporation Limited, Optus [STELO.UL] and TPG to block access to more than 60 file-sharing websites, widely used to download popular TV shows such as Game of Thrones.
The ruling – the first under the country’s recently amended copyright laws – will stem illegal downloads in a country where more than a third of adults admit to stealing content online, potentially boosting demand for services such as Foxtel and Netflix Inc.
Despite its relatively small population, Australia is the world’s second highest perpetrator of illegal downloads, a 2015 report by global accounting firm EY found, costing content providers millions of dollars in lost revenue.
Until now, Australian courts have been among the least intrusive when it comes to cracking down on Web piracy, including refusing to let movie producers bill people it suspects of stealing their content.