iiNet's legal counsel this morning cross-examined four senior Hollywood executives from Warner Bros, Disney, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures via video link, with the court hearing about the industry's long-running battle against piracy.
The court heard that Paramount Pictures had struck a deal with BitTorrent for the file-sharing client maker to prevent copyrighted material being shared over its software.
Al Perry, the Paramount Pictures vice president of copyright protection, under cross-examination by iiNet's general counsel Richard Cobden, said he wasn't sure whether the arrangement with BitTorrent had worked in preventing piracy, but that it was no longer in force. A contract had existed between 2006 and 2008.
20th Century Fox Film Corporation's senior vice president of content protection, Ronald Wheeler, faced a lengthy cross-examination by Cobden who proposed, as he had yesterday to Village Roadshow's general counsel, that he was aware that making content available online legally had helped address the problem of piracy.
Wheeler said it would require a global assessment to confirm the claim. However, in a statement which would counter the claim that illegally downloading a film is the only way to acquire movies online, added: "Certainly because content is available legally [online], it puts a lie to the claim that illegal consumption is the only way to obtain the content".
iiNet had previously claimed that Motion Picture of America Association (MPA) members were partners of BitTorrent, which the four executives cross-examined today confirmed was no longer the case.
Marcia Reed, vice president and assistant secretary of Disney Enterprises Inc, who also holds positions with Walt Disney and its media distribution arm, Buena Vista Entertainment, was also briefly cross-examined. Little came out of the cross-examination besides confirmation of exactly how Disney and its subsidiaries are related to the Motion Picture Association and AFACT's anti-piracy efforts.