Yes, VPNs are legal in Australia and in each of the states. there are now laws that specifically prohibit the use of a VPN in Australia, rather just laws that guide their appropriate use.
These limitations of the legality of VPNs in Australia are important to know. Here’s some background.
Restricting Copyright Infringing Websites
Copyright infringing websites are blocked due to the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill passed in 2015, which mandated ISPs block access to popular torrenting sites like The Pirate Bay.
Accessing torrenting sites using a VPN is legal, however, if you then download copyrighted information from those sites you are breaking the law.
Blocking Media Not Available in Australia
In 2005, Sony won a court case against an Australian businessman selling modded Playstations. The impact of this is was the blocking access to media not natively available here in Australia.
This resulted in price discrimination aimed at Australians by large streaming services that charged Australians a premium for access to their platforms.
Due to this price discrimination, the Productivity Commission fought for an amendment to the Copyright Act to allow the access of international media using a VPN. The relevant section of the law is below:
“The Copyright Act does not make it illegal to use a VPN to access overseas content. While content providers often have in place international commercial arrangements to protect copyright in different countries or regions, which can result in ‘geo-blocking’, circumventing this is not illegal under the Copyright Act.”Taken from the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill
Does Accessing International Media Breach Copyright Law?
No, the act of accessing international media using a VPN is not illegal, unless the copyright law protecting the media itself is breached. This means that it is perfectly fine to access any international content where the copyright is not being infringed.
For example, it is legal to use VPN to purchase a piece of media from an international market because it is unavailable here or cheaper to purchase “abroad”.
What Are The best VPNs for Streaming and Torrenting in Australia?
We tested torrenting speeds, streaming quality and ability to access international media libraries and found NordVPN, ExpressVPN and CyberGhost to be the best picks.