Senator Mitch Fifield announced the crackdown on piracy today. Picture: Kym Smith

GOOGLE has refused to comment on a new crackdown on online piracy in Australia despite being accused of “unashamedly facilitating crime” and being “as evil as Big Tobacco 30 years ago”.

The internet giant has come under fire from Australia’s creative industries for promoting pirate websites that allow users to illegally download movies or music.

But under proposed new laws, which will make it harder for Australians to access illegal downloads, search engines such as Google and Yahoo and internet service providers such as iiNet will be forced to block or demote the pirate sites.

Creative Content Australia chairman Graham Burke, also the co-chief executive of Australian film company Village Roadshow, has hailed the new laws as game-changing for the industry but slammed Google for its lack of action sooner, saying piracy cost the creative industry “billions” each year.

Creative Content Australia chairman Graham Burke says it’s time for Google to clean up their act. Picture: Luke Marsden

Creative Content Australia chairman Graham Burke says it’s time for Google to clean up their act. Picture: Luke MarsdenSource:News Corp Australia

“We stand ready to be co-operative with Google. We see good Google and bad Google. But bad Google is as evil as Big Tobacco was 30 years ago. They know what they’re doing. They know they’re facilitating and enabling crime and it’s time for them to clean their act up,” he told News Corp Australia.

Pirate sites such as ThePirateBay.org, 123 Movies.is and EZTV.ag have been blocked under current laws after copyright holders such as Foxtel and Village Roadshow applied to the Federal Court for injunction orders.

But the new laws, introduced to Parliament today, will go further by allowing a wider range of sites to be blocked and allowing copyright holders to apply for court orders that would specifically require search engines to take action.

Foxtel welcomed the laws today, saying they would “strengthen the ability of the creative industry to combat the scourge of online piracy”.

Mr Burke also said they would give Australian companies a weapon so they could “fight to survive”.

Senator Mitch Fifield announced the crackdown on piracy today. Picture: Kym Smith

Senator Mitch Fifield announced the crackdown on piracy today. Picture: Kym SmithSource:News Corp Australia

A Google spokesman declined to comment. The company has previously said it “takes the fight against online piracy very seriously” and down-ranks sites on its search engine which a large number of valid DMCA notices. It also bans pirate sites from its ad network.

Communications Minister Mitch Fifield announced the new crackdown today, saying the Australian Government was providing “enormous support” to creative industries and couldn’t “have that good work undone by allowing local creators to be victims of online piracy.”

“Online piracy is theft. Downloading or streaming a pirated movie or TV show is no different to stealing a DVD from a shop,” he said.

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