Under the legislation, passed in June, rights holders can apply to the Federal Court to force internet service providers to block access to certain websites if their “primary purpose” is deemed “to infringe, or to facilitate the infringement of, copyright”.
The ARIA members have named Australia’s biggest telcos Telstra, Optus and TPG and subsidiaries, which include iiNet and Virgin Mobile, in the application.
Like The Pirate Bay, Kickass Torrents is what’s known as a “torrent tracker”. It works like a search engine, where users can search and find files such as movies or music hosted on other people’s computers, and then share them directly using a peer-to-peer protocol known as torrenting.
In February, a consortium of major film studios led by Village Roadshow Australia was the first to file for an injunction under the Copyright Act amendments. Foxtel has instigated a separate action. Together they are seeking to block various other sites deemed to flagrantly facilitate copyright infringement, including The Pirate Bay and SolarMovie.
ISPs have yet to confirm how they would go about blocking the sites. Previous attempts by government departments to block sites have backfired massively. In 2013, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission inadvertently blocked access to a quarter of a million websites when it instructed ISPs to block a particular IP address.