'Innocent' Aussie ISPs refuse to pay for piracy site blocking

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'Innocent' Aussie ISPs refuse to pay for piracy site blocking

Debate covers old ground.

Australian internet service providers caught up in legal requests to deny access to a handful of overseas alleged piracy sites are standing firm against having to pay the costs of implementing the blocks.

The debate is a return to old ground for rights holders and Australian internet service providers, who have twice failed to introduce an industry code for tackling copyright infringement after being unable to come to agreement on who should pay for the scheme.

Foxtel and Village Roadshow launched the first court action seeking to make use of website-blocking legislation, passed into law last year, in February.

The application marks the first test case for the new legislation and will provide a template for how future website blocking applications are dealt with.

Foxtel and Village Roadshow have filed separate applications to block Australian access to The Pirate Bay, SolarMovie, Torrentz, Torrentound and IsoHunt file sharing websites.

In court today, both sides revealed discussions had been underway since December last year prior to the legal action being launched.

However, in a repeat of negotiations on the draft industry code for piracy, they have so far been unable to come to agreement on the costs of complying with the Foxtel and Village Roadshow orders.

The internet service providers involved - Telstra, Optus, TPG and M2 - are not contesting the underlying application, but argue they "shouldn't have to pay" for an order in which they are an "innocent party".

"We were hopeful we wouldn't need to trouble the court with costs, but we [have to]" Optus counsel said.

The ISPs pushed for four weeks to allow them to develop evidence to show the court how much it would cost them to comply with a site blocking order.

M2 said its costs would sit between $400 and $800 plus overheads across four domain name system servers.

TPG put its costs per domain name at $50, and said its chosen method of blocking would be through the DNS.

The other ISPs will detail their costs through evidence to the court within the month.

The parties will return to court for a hearing on the site blocking application on June 23.

Following the legal action by Foxtel and Village Roadshow in March, a handful of the world's largest record companies filed to restrict access to torrent site Kickass Torrents.

Several of the country's biggest music companies, along with APRA AMCOS, will appear in court for their first hearing on June 6.

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