iiNet case won't stop Exetel warning users

Summary:ISP Exetel CEO John Linton will continue to pass on alleged copyright infringement notices to customers, including notices from the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft.

ISP Exetel CEO John Linton will continue to pass on alleged copyright infringement notices to customers, including notices from the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).

Linton told ZDNet.com.au he would continue to pass on the notices to customers, as there was "no doubt" that copyright was being infringed "in almost every case".

His comments follow a landmark ruling by Federal Court judge Justice Dennis Cowdroy that found ISP iiNet did not inadvertently "authorise" its customers to breach copyright by not taking actions desired by AFACT to stop them when they were allegedly doing so.

AFACT had been sending the ISP notices claiming that its users were infringing the copyright of film and television studios. iiNet did not pass on the warning to users, arguing that the infringement notices were alleged and not evidence. Yet Linton believed that there was an issue of customers breaking the law and that he needed to act on it.

This was why Exetel developed an automatic system to pass on alleged copyright infringement notices to customers, according to Linton, which had come at "zero cost". According to his blog, it allowed customers to either deny or apologise to the rights holders, but did not cut users off. Despite this, it still saw some customers churn away from the provider, Linton said.

When asked about what he thought of the landmark decision yesterday, Linton said that the judge "didn't bother to consider the evidence" and "quite correctly exempted himself from the burden of making legislation".

However, he did say the verdict was "more positive than the reverse".

"I'm glad that Exetel didn't have to incur the costs of dealing with such an action," he said.

"I think the judgement of a single judge on this matter was predictable — no single judge could make any judgement that was not based on precedent or legislation, and neither exists."

Topics: Telcos, Government : AU, Legal

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