Internet users could find themselves in the dock like Game of Thrones' Tyrion, under new copyright laws from the Australian government. (AAP)

Game of Thrones fans be warned: winter is coming, as the federal government plans to freeze Australia's reputation for piracy.

A range of new rules and penalties will force consumers to pay up before downloading files, including that of the hit TV series.

Australia has one of the highest rates of online piracy in the world, proving costly to the nation's multibillion-dollar creative industry.

The government today unveiled proposals aimed at stopping piracy. They include forcing internet service providers (ISPs) to block overseas sites known to offer illegal access to content.

This would enable rights holders to apply for a court order commanding the ISP to ban certain sites.

There is also a move to change the Copyright Act so ISPs would be liable for allowing access to illegal content.

The law change would consider what, if any, "reasonable steps" were taken by the provider to prevent piracy.

By way of penalty, internet users who download illegal content could receive warning notices and face access limitations if the behaviour continues.

While calling for public submissions on its proposals, the government said a range of factors was required to eliminate piracy, including law-abiding consumers and reasonably priced content.

Attorney-General George Brandis said any changes would take into account consumer interests.

"The government's preference is to create a legal framework that will facilitate industry co-operation to develop flexible and effective measures to combat online piracy," he said.

Australians were among the viewers who illegally downloaded the season-four finale of Game of Thrones a record 1.5 million times within 12 hours of the show being aired.

Industry groups welcomed the government's proposed reforms. Village Roadshow co-chairman Graham Burke warns that Australia is on the precipice of losing valuable businesses if there is no change.

Game of Thrones distributor Foxtel said piracy had far-reaching impacts, and the pay TV provider had already moved to deter illegal downloads by providing content to Australian viewers as soon as possible following screenings overseas.

The Communications Alliance, which represents several leading ISPs, urged caution on some of the proposals.

It said entities including schools, universities and libraries offering legitimate services could be caught in the revised act, leading to disadvantages for consumers.

The alliance called for the establishment of an industry scheme as the best way to address piracy.