Film industry to appeal iiNet case

Film industry to appeal iiNet case

Summary: 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 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.

Topics: Telcos, Government AU, Legal

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  • Dinosaurs

    Hey, AFACT, the internet has arrived. People want to use it, because it's the best solution for them. Instead of getting all bolshie and trying to put the genie back in the bottle, why don't you put your thinking heads on and come up with a way that people can legally, and who knows, you might even make some money off it. Like what happened with video tape rentals back in the day.

    The world moves on, get with the times. Until you do, don't expect to get much sympathy...
  • Really?

    I seem to remember from the case that it was found that quite the opposite of what AFACT executive director Neil Gane said above is true... what a very short memory they have..
  • Hmmn

    They must have found a judge they could bribe.
  • Forgot something...

    "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,"

    The court also found that the "mere provision of access to internet is not the means to infringement." That was the crux of the ruling, and that's what AFACT seem to have glossed over...
  • Contractual?

    "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.

    Did iiNet sign a contract with AFACT saying that they will forward all infringement notices? No? Then what does the word contractual mean? Or is it a lawyer big-word to intimate others and make them sound smart?
  • Re: "copyright theft"

    I think it's atrocious that the film industry's copyrights have been stolen. The thieves should be forced to give them back immediately!
  • Contractual

    They're referring to the fact that iiNet's terms of service say that you're not allowed to use the service for anything illegal. They're talking about the contract between the customer and iiNet, not between iiNet and AFACT.

    Still, as I said above, AFACT are just ignoring the bits of Justice Cowdrey's ruling that they don't like and just running with the bits they agree with...
  • But not with the studios

    That means that there is no contractual requirement for iiNet to forward the infringement notices from AFACT, right?

    So why is AFACT suing iiNet for not doing something that they never promised to do?
  • Who's paying the bill?

    If iiNet's costs were about $4M, and AMYTH is whinging about having to pay its own costs let alone those of the victor, how much did they waste on this ridiculous case? I'm sure it will far exceed any calculated "loss" from people downloading movies that they otherwise probably wouldn't have watched anyway.

    Now, despite whinging about the costs, they want to throw more money (that could be better spent) on trying to get "their way". This is toddler behavior: I don't want you to have it so badly, I'm prepared to break it so that no one can have it.

    Downloads lead to two things:
    a) A legitimate sale; or
    b) Deletion as a waste of time.

    CDs and DVDs are super-cheap to produce (under $1 stamped, printed and packaged), so flood the market with product that is so cheap that it is not worthwhile downloading.

    I paid good money on the internet for "Crazy Streets" aka "Forever, Lulu". The disc (NTSC) was blatanly copied from a VHS tape, and I advised the vendor to seek a more reputable supplier.

    I then found the same movie in a $2 bin, and figuring I had nothing to lose, I bought it. The disc was a professional remaster in PAL from the original film and far superior.

    The $2 bin has been an excellent resource for me. I've found classic movies, obtained the full TV series of "Robocop", plugged up holes in my Star Trek collection (thereby releasing more VHS tapes), and discovered a whole series of student movies that all use the same building as one of the locations: It has been a genetics lab, a TV station, a psych hospital, a subliminal experiment lab, an android research facility... I can only conlude that it is actually a building belonging to a film school, and they keep changing the sign out the front.

    Of course, some of this $2 discs are total $%^&, but then so are some $45 discs.

    In the u.s., a music company dropped all its CDs to $12 instead of the usual $29--they made a killing, and it wasn't worth waiting around on Kazaa to get a crippled product when the sacrifice of a couple of coffees bought the legitimate product.

    AMYTH could learn from this.

    I am ever so slowly working on my own Music video which will be using copyright material. I have no intention of sticking it on YouTube. I will be going through APRA to work out what royalties I have to pay, and then sticking a low-grade ADVERTISING copy on YouTube. Price to buy the full quality product will be as cheap as I can manage (including those royalties) in the hope of getting as many copies out there as I can. Think about it, which do I want: 1000 copies at $10 each or 5000 copies at $5 each? Dare I dream 500,000 copies at $2 each? The first $1 single released that goes Platinum?

    That was why Department Stores took on Boutique suppliers--if we can move 10 of the same model TV set at 25 to 50% off compared to every unit you sell at full price, we and the manufacturer come out in front. Now those same Department Stores are charging the full prices and people are returning to the Boutique stores for the quality of service.

    Arctic Monkeys have made it to success in spite of ARIA/RIAA, but unfortunately the only way to replace these dinosaurs is to wait for them to die out.

    I was sent a link to a movie before it had been released--they come out so early that I think the editors must rely on the downloads to save work. Soon they'll be hitting the market so fast that the script writers will be downloading them so they know what to write.

    I had a look, I trashed it. If I had been paid to review it, my comments would have been scathing.

    I have downloaded very small quantities of music--mostly old stuff that has been transferred from vinyl, or songs that have been released as MP3 only. Now if CDs and DVDs are SUBstandard distribution formats, why am I going to pay for an MP3 in ADVERTISING format? I was referred to a link on YouTube, and then spent three months turning eBay inside out to find a legit copy of the product.

    Back in the VHS days, which was a SUB/SUbstandard distribution format, I got better quality taping directly from the TV and archiving. Now that the improvement of DVD is here, I have been buying the product and erasing the tapes for use in a security system (3000 tapes should go a long way).

    I again re-iterate that the real "losses" sustained by these companies are the professional pirates who are passing a look-alike product to unsuspecting public.

    My brother-in-law was delighted to get the full Harry Potter series of DVDs. He was equally disappointed to find that they were Asian knockoffs in Region Free NTSC. Technically, transferring 24 fps to DVD, PAL is the best quality choice at 25 fps with a slight tweak to the sound. Transferring to NTSC requires the "2-3 pulldown process" which mixes fields from one frame to another, and has significantly less resolution..

    These are the sorts of sales that AFACT and related bodies should be chasing down. The gifter bought these discs in good faith believing them to be legitimate product and paid good money for them. How many THOUSAND other purchasers were duped, thinking they were buying legitimate product and paying legitimate prices for an inferior product?

    THOSE ARE SALES of which the company has criminally been deprived. DivX download are just a drop in the financial ocean.

    This case and many others would be irrelevant if the content providers released movies and tv shows at the same time eveywhere in the world across mutiple formats. People are quite happy to pay for material at a reasonable price if it is current and in the format of there choice..
  • The problem isn't how many people buy something or even the price of something.

    The problem lies with the studios who want more money than before

    Example: earn 1 million profit yr 1 then want 2 million profit yr 2.

    The problem with this is only so many people are going to buy a product, if people aren't interested in a product they won't buy it, simple as that.

    It can be 5 cents if people aren't interested they'll keep walking.

    SO what the studio's are seeing is the max amount of profit, they'll probably ever earn in a year. these days and they don't like it as they think they are meant to keep earning more more money but that's not happening.

    People are fed up seeing same movie redone over and over.

    The karte kid is the newest version of this, the old ones were great is was new a different, the new version is completely changed and if people don't like it well they ain't going to watch it.

    The other problem is, I've seen the karte kid back in 1989, I don't need or want to see another movie that's exactly the same thing done over again and probably is a poor version of the first.

    Another example of this happening is the James Bond movies the newest one are pretty much flops against the old ones because James Bond doesn't get girl, and been turned into some metro-sexual guy who's more fussed about what the femmist's might say if he hit up a chick for sex.