iiNet barristers corner AFACT solicitor

iiNet barristers corner AFACT solicitor

Summary: iiNet's legal counsel took Gilbert & Tobin solicitor Michael Williams to task yesterday afternoon over the credibility of technical evidence he had presented to the court.


iiNet's legal counsel took the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft's Gilbert & Tobin solicitor Michael Williams to task yesterday afternoon over the credibility of technical evidence he had presented to the court.

Williams kept a steely expression while being double-teamed by iiNet's legal counsels, Richard Cobden and Richard Lancaster. The hearing has reached day seven.

Cobden first questioned Williams on his prior attempts to have the Copyright Act amended. Williams had written to the Attorney-General's Department in 2006 (on behalf of Village Roadshow Ltd, Australian Visual Software Distributors Association and Channel Nine owners, Publishing and Broadcasting Limited) about concerns from carriers that the Telecommunications Act was preventing them from following recommendations of copyright owners, for example, to hand over an infringing customer's details to the owners.

Williams was forced to answer whether its lobbying efforts to have parts of the Telecommunications and Copyright Acts amended had worked. "The outcome was that while the submission was considered, it was not adopted and none of [the three] recommendations were implemented," Williams said.

In what appeared to be an effort to show that copyright owners do have procedures to pursue alleged pirates, Cobden then required Williams to explain the process of a "John Doe" proceedings in relation to copyright infringements.

"It involves preparation, but also a subsequent procedure, say through ... an application for a discovery in order to establish the respondent," Williams said. "Once that's done, an application is made to substitute for the John Doe ... for the name of the person identified through the discovery exercise."

iiNet's legal counsel Lancaster next tried to establish that Williams had over-reported infringements and provided questionable evidence, questioning him for an hour over a statement he'd made based on 20 iiNet customer account activities for about a month and evidence sourced via its hired technical investigators DtecNet.

"Do you know enough about internet connections to know about technical drop outs which have nothing to do with user request but by some technical glitch?" asked Lancaster.

"All too well," replied Williams.

The hearing continues.

Topics: Telcos, Government AU, Legal, Piracy

Liam Tung

About Liam Tung

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, security and telecommunications journalist with ZDNet Australia. These days Liam is a full time freelance technology journalist who writes for several publications.

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  • All talk not enough (a)FACTS

    It's great to see the self-righteously named A-FACT being cornered on its lack of FACTS. Thank goodness for good lawyers like the one hired by IINET. The AFACT organization is mostly about media spin and over-the-top expressions of indignation but when it comes to the crunch, it's just a sinister manipulator of media and legislation that is seeking at all costs, including civil liberties and democraty, to further its narrow self-interests. What's worse, AFACT's antics do nothing positive for the reputation of the members whom it claims to represent and who appear to be strangely silent on the subject.
  • AFACT - questionable

    Is AFACT really an undercover attempt to get US copyright legislation embeded into Australian Law.
  • RE: AFACT - questionable

    Didn't the AUS-US FTA and the DMCA already do that?
  • Pretty much :(

    That more or less sums it up