The film industry has today filed an appeal to contest the NSW Federal Court's ruling earlier this month in favour of Australian internet service provider iiNet.
The Australian Federation of Copyright Theft (representing various film studios and a television network) had brought the case to court back in November 2008, arguing that the ISP infringed copyright by failing to take reasonable steps — including enforcing its own terms and conditions — to prevent customers from copying films and TV shows over its network.
Justice Dennis Cowdroy ruled that the internet service provider had not authorised its users to breach copyright.
In a statement received this morning, AFACT said there were "good grounds" for an appeal.
It said the judgement had left an "unworkable online environment for content creators and content providers" and represented "a serious threat to Australia's digital economy".
AFACT executive director Neil Gane, representing the film industry, said the judgement in favour of iiNet was "out of step with well established copyright law in Australia".
"The court found large scale copyright infringements, that iiNet knew they were occurring, that iiNet had the contractual and technical capacity to stop them and iiNet did nothing about them," he said.
"In line with previous case law, this would have amounted to authorisation of copyright infringement."
Gane also said the decision rendered the safe harbour regime "ineffective".
"This decision allows iiNet to pay lip service to provisions that were designed to encourage ISPs to prevent copyright infringements in return for the safety the law provided.
"If this decision stands, the ISPs have all the protection without any of the responsibility."
"By allowing internet companies like iiNet to turn a blind eye to copyright theft, the decision harms not just the studios that produce and distribute movies, but also Australia's creative community and all those whose livelihoods depend on a vibrant entertainment industry," he said.
iiNet spent $5.7 million on court costs for the trial, costs which AFACT had been ordered to pay.