Two organisations representing Australian performers have been awarded a chance to be heard in the appeal against the Federal Court's February ruling that internet service provider iiNet had not authorised its users to breach copyright.
At a motions hearing today ahead of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft's (AFACT) appeal next week of the iiNet ruling, Justice Arthur Emmett approved an application to be heard from the Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) and the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance.
APRA's lawyers said the association had concerns that should the appeal against iiNet not be successful, it would set a precedent that would make it "impossible to sue on the same infringements".
Lawyers acting on behalf of iiNet opposed the additional testimony, arguing that any testimony offered by both organisations "will not be useful or different to those made by the appellants [AFACT]". They also stated that artists would often not have any copyright claim as "artists tend to sign away their copyright to the producers of films".
Justice Emmett accepted the application from the performer organisations and said they may be allowed to be heard after AFACT and iiNet have each stated their cases at the appeal, if the organisations can prove to the court that their testimony is relevant and had not already been outlined by AFACT.
Last week, AFACT welcomed a study that had found that 89 per cent of BitTorrents were infringing copyright. iiNet also criticised AFACT for "poor attempts to present itself as the voice of reason" in appealing to internet service providers to collaborate with the film industry, while at the same time demanding the providers disconnect customers who have been found to breach copyright.