Last year we reported that longstanding torrenting site The Pirate Bay was to be shut down in Australia along with a handful of other popular sites at the behest of Foxtel, Village Roadshow and others, and that campaign looks set to continue as the latter seeks to block a further 40 popular sites like Demonoid, TorrentProject and ExtraTorrent, Computer World reports.

The move is intended to reduce Australia’s rampant illegal distribution of copyrighted materials but, as we pointed out last time around, these measures are easily circumvented, and their actual impact on piracy will be pretty minor.

This new application to the courts asks for this new list of torrenting sites to be blocked for users by Australian ISPs including Telstra, Optus, TPG, Vocus, and a range of other big providers, but still won’t be providing a ‘rolling injunction’, which would allow any new web addresses associated with the websites in question to be automatically blocked as they pop up.

Instead, a new affidavit will need to be served each time a new domain name or IP address is implemented, meaning that a small tweak to the domain name is all it takes for the sites to avoid the blocks. The Federal Court blocked 30 Pirate Bay URLs last year, for instance, but a host of new ones were immediately available by a simple Google search.

Meanwhile, Computer World reports that a separate case from local music labels against KickassTorrents, which seeks to extradite its owner on criminal charges, remains underway.

This new host of blocks could be another important step in the fight against piracy, but at the same time raise concerns about freedom of access in Australia. Torrenting and file sharing aren’t in and of themselves illegal, and the debate rages over whether a scorched earth policy against file-sharing and torrenting sites is the best way of fighting piracy – or whether easy and affordable access through legitimate means might just do the trick.

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