The Australian producers of acclaimed drama The Slap have succeeded in shutting down a Netherlands-based piracy website used by some 40,000 Australian and New Zealand expats to watch local shows illegally.
The site, diwana.org, is run by an Australian expat and is popular with expats and others based overseas seekibg to access Australia and New Zealand TV content, which is often difficult to access internationally.
It is understood that Matchbox Pictures – the producers of The Slap – contacted the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), which then referred the matter to Dutch anti-piracy body BREIN, which acts on behalf of rightsholders.
BREIN contacted Diwana’s ISP, LeaseWeb, claiming it was hosting a site that illegally offered pirated copies of shows. LeaseWeb told the owners of Diwana.org that it had no choice but to shut down the site as “in the past we have lost court cases with BREIN”.
The owner of Diwana.org – known by the online handle ‘fr3ak’ sent a “strongly worded letter” to Matchbox Pictures after shutting the site claiming he did not have the funds to fight a legal case. He said the site was never a “commercial pirate organisation” and was used by about 40,000 citizens of Australia and New Zealand to “share content that was not commercially available for viewing in other countries”.
AFACT said that it was not correct that The Slap was not available overseas as it was currently licensed for online distribution in Britain via BBC iPlayer.
“The only way we can have a sustainable content industry in Australia so that more quality content like The Slap can be created is if producers and rights holders are able to sell the rights to local productions both in Australia and overseas,” AFACT said.
Despite the shutdown of Diwana.org, The Slap is still widely available on other pirate websites.