A further 74 pirating sites such as Limetorrents, Putlocker, Kinogo, and Megashare could be added to the list of sites blocked by nearly 50 internet providers if movie studios succeed in their latest legal move to stop Australians streaming or downloading movies and television for free.
This follows a ruling late last year that granted studios like Roadshow Films, Disney Studios, Warner Bros and Twentieth Century Fox the right to request internet service providers (ISPs) block access to 61 sites that people were using to download movies and TV shows for free.
This second case has occurred because the studios are trying to stay ahead of the pirating sites, which often change names or web addresses to avoid blocks. If granted, it means Australian courts have blocked access to 135 piracy sites.
The studios have filed an application in the Federal Court asking Justice John Nicholas to order ISPs ‘‘ take reasonable steps to block access to the target online locations’’ . ‘‘ The owners or operators of the target online locations demonstrate a disregard for copyright generally, in that they provide easy access to the copyright works of others, in many cases on a free basis,’’ their application asserts.
The list of 74 new sites includes KissCartoon, WatchFree, Prime-Wire , Phimmoi, 123Movies, FMovies, EYNY and Spacemov. The web addresses indicate they are registered in places such as Antigua and Barbuda, Estonia, Sweden, Tonga, and the Cocos Keeling Islands.
The next hearing is set for March 23, 2017.
A spokesman for Telstra said these request are a matter for the courts. ‘‘ Telstra will comply with any orders from the court that result from this application, as we have done previously,’’ he said.
‘‘ Online copyright infringement is a serious issue. We support flexible , fair and workable approaches to reduce online infringement and protect intellectual property.’’
Telstra owns half of subscription entertainment service Foxtel. The other half is owned by News Corp Australia, which has the same owners as Twentieth Century Fox.
Foxtel chief executive Peter Tonagh recently published an opinion piece on movie and television piracy describing it as a ‘‘ scourge’’ .
‘‘ It is no less of a crime than stealing a loaf of bread from a supermarket or sneaking into a movie theatre or a concert without paying,’’ he wrote in February. ‘‘ Yet, as a nation, Australians are among the worst offenders in the world.’’
A spokeswoman for Optus said it supports the December court order and will comply with any future orders . ‘‘ Last year’s Federal Court decision created certainty and established a clear and fair process for both Rights Holders and ISPs seeking to address the issue of online copyright infringement,’’ the spokeswoman said.