AFACT loses iiNet piracy appeal case

Summary:The Federal Court has dismissed the appeal for the landmark iiNet copyright case brought against it by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).

The Federal Court has dismissed the appeal for the landmark iiNet copyright case brought against it by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).

In a full court room in Sydney today, the justices dismissed the appeal, with costs to be determined at a later date.

Justices Nicholas and Emmett were in favour of the appeal being dismissed, but Jagot was not.

Emmett said that the case should be dismissed, but that it was fair to say that the appellant was successful in a number of areas. This is why he wouldn't rule on the reimbursement of iiNet's legal costs. This matter will be addressed in a directions hearing on 11 March.

AFACT originally took iiNet to court back in November 2008, alleging the telco could have taken reasonable steps to stop users downloading illegally by, for example, issuing warnings and suspending or ultimately terminating user accounts.

Justice Cowdroy originally ruled in iiNet's favour, stating that the telco was merely providing a service to its customers and terminating customers' accounts would not be a reasonable step to prevent copyright infringement.

In AFACT's appeal, it stated that the judge had made serious errors in his ruling because the ISP was in constant contact with customers which AFACT claimed had breached copyright by downloading films and thus could have taken reasonable steps to prevent further copyright infringements.

It is expected that the AFACT party will appeal the ruling to the High Court within the next 28 days.

AFACT is keen for the Federal Government to move on strengthening copyright laws surrounding piracy before the onset of the National Broadband Network; however, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has said the government is keeping an eye on the outcome of the iiNet case and will also wait for the completion of an upcoming media convergence review before considering any new policy.

Topics: Piracy, Government : AU, Security, Telcos

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Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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