The Australian Federal Court has ordered ISPs in the country to take all measures to block sites that allow users to download content illegally. In a ruling that is likely to spark controversy among Internet users in the country, the court said that all leading ISPs in the country would be required to do all that it within their powers to deny users access to sites that allow infringement of copyrights.
The new rule seems to target leading file-sharing sites such as The Pirate Bay, IsoHunt and Torrent Hound.
But in a move that appears to counter the court order, individuals in Australia have been seeking the services of VPNs. It seems that the search for VPN related services and products hit an all-time high weeks after the court issued the order as people sought alternative ways of bypassing the new restrictions.
Leading ISP providers in the country have been expressing support to the new requirement. An official of Telstra, one of the leading ISPs in the country, said that his company would implement the new rules as a way of dealing with the issue of online infringement of copyrights.
In a similar move, copyright holders have expressed hope that implementation of the new rules will be instrumental in dealing with the problem of online copyright infringement. Graham Burke, the CEO of Village Roadshow, says that the new regulations will make the entire industry better shortly.
Some observers have argued that the new regulations may be counterproductive. Of great concern is the ability of the new rules to counter the use of VPNs that help individuals to bypass such restrictions with ease. VPN services have proliferated the market over the recent past, with many people using them to overcome geo-restrictions and remain anonymous online.
Angus Kidman of Finder.com argues that it is highly likely that many people who use common file-sharing sites will adopt the use of VPNs to beat the new restrictions.
VPNs are the perfect solution to the problem of geo-restrictions because they conceal the IP address of users. Therefore, individuals who use them will manage to access all the torrenting sites while in Australia because ISPs will not be able to tell the exact location of the individuals.
But Burke, the CEO of Village Roadshow, says that VPNs may not be a big problem since it costs money to use them. Typical VPN services cost monthly prices that are lower than $10. It remains to be seen how internet users shall react to the new restrictions occasioned by the court ruling.