The Federal Court has ruled that it is legal for ISPs to block access to some online content without a court warrant.
The Federal Government had argued that ISPs should be able to block content that is threatening the health of children.
In a statement, the Federal Court said it would not interfere with the “policies of the internet service providers”.
The Federal government said it was disappointed by the decision.
“This decision does not change the position that the ISPs have to adhere to the law, but we hope it will encourage them to continue to act lawfully,” the statement said.
“In the future, we will seek further guidance from the Federal Government to ensure that the laws of this country are respected.”
Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said it made no difference to the Federal government’s ability to enforce its laws.
“The Federal Government’s approach to protecting children is consistent with the Communications Security Legislation Amendment (No 2) Act,” he said.
Mr Conroy told ABC News Breakfast that the decision was not surprising.
“It’s a little bit of a surprise,” he told the program.
“I think it’s very disappointing, but it’s a decision that will be considered by the Federal Circuit Court of Appeal and that will take into account the Federal Communications Commission’s position.”
He said the Federal Minister for Communications would consider the Federal court’s decision and “take a look at what the next steps are”.
Federal Attorney-General George Brandis said it will take some time for the Federal Parliament to consider the matter.
“What we’ve got to do is consider all the advice, the legal advice, we’ve received, and we will then come to the decision,” he explained.
“We are going to consult with the Federal Law Reform Commission, the Law Council, the Council of Australian Governments and others, to make sure we get the right outcome.”
What you need to know about the Federal Copyright Amendment (NBN) bill The Copyright Amendment Act 2011 was introduced in the Parliament last month, but has not yet been passed into law.
Under the legislation, internet service companies are required to block “unlawful” material, including material that is “incendiary, defamatory, or likely to incite hatred”.
The Government says that it wants to encourage internet service provider’s to comply with the law.
“A broadband provider must ensure that all users have access to lawful content on its network,” the Government said.
The Copyright Act was passed by the National Parliament last November and was intended to ensure access to internet content.
The amendments allow the Federal Cabinet to set the terms of service for providers of broadband.
It is expected to be passed into the Federal parliament this month.
The bill is expected have a number of amendments, including changes to copyright law.
The Attorney-general’s Department has argued that the current law only applies to the internet.
It says the legislation is not an infringement of copyright, but that it will make it easier for internet service users to access lawful content.
But the Federal Courts has said that the legislation will make the internet less accessible to children.
“These changes to the Copyright Act, which are designed to address concerns raised by some Internet users, will have the unintended consequence of increasing the number of children who have access and access to unlawful content,” the Federal courts said.
Federal Communications Commissioner Kim Carr has been lobbying to see the bill passed, arguing that internet providers must comply with copyright laws.
She told the ABC that the changes to legislation will help children learn about copyright.
“When they start using the internet to learn about their rights and freedoms, it will help them understand what’s protected by copyright and what’s not,” she said.