The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft's (AFACT) investigations into Australian movie piracy led it to focus on two file-sharing clients and four Australian ISPs, the Federal Court heard today.
Neil Gane, AFACT's executive director, who is facing ongoing questions from iiNet's general counsel, Richard Cobden, today said that its investigations, conducted via a software company, DtecNet, had led it to whittle down its investigation of 190 Australian ISPs to just four — iiNet, Internode, Exetel and Optus. At the time, it was investigating infringements on around 1300 titles, according to Gane. The case currently focuses on 86 titles and televisions shows.
The four ISPs became the focal point of AFACT's investigations after 2007. Gane said its investigations showed that the two most popular file-sharing clients were BitTorrent and eDonkey; however, it became clear later that BitTorrent was the most popular.
AFACT had hired two investigators, who had become customers of iiNet in 2007, and commenced collecting evidence. AFACT's other source of evidence was from the vendor DtecNet. Gane told the court also that the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) had established a SharePoint portal for copyright owners to log and store instances of infringement.
Gane said AFACT had been pursuing a policy of graduated sanctions against an ISP's customers that repeatedly infringed on the 34 applicants' copyright.
He added there had been growing frustration amongst US members of the MPAA — which expresses its efforts in Australia through AFACT and the MPAA's Singapore office — at the apparent inaction by ISPs in combating piracy.
Last Friday, iiNet's barrister argued that the ISP's invocation of the section of the Telecommunications Act, which prohibits it from intercepting its customers' online activity, was not novel, as AFACT had earlier claimed, since AFACT had expressed its concern over the section in a letter it had previously sent to the Attorney-General's Department.
Today Cobden brought forth a press release penned by AFACT which said it was in 2007 proposing that ISPs adopt a graduated system of sanctioning movie pirates.
Cobden also argued that AFACT never disclosed to iiNet how it was collecting evidence and suggested to Gane that since 2007 its intention in sending notifications to ISPs was not part of a cooperative approach to dealing with copyright infringement, but aimed at litigation.
Cobden also quizzed Gane on what actions he took when emails he had sent to iiNet's copyright infringement address had bounced. Cobden attempted to establish that Gane made no attempt to contact iiNet via other means, such as a phone call to the company.