iiNet wins copyright court case

iiNet wins copyright court case

Summary: Australian ISP iiNet was today announced as the victor in its long-running defence against a lawsuit by major film and TV studios represented by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).


Australian ISP iiNet was today announced as the victor in its long-running defence against a lawsuit by major film and TV studios represented by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).

Justice Cowdroy announced the verdict to a packed courtroom in Sydney today.

The studios first dragged iiNet into the Federal 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.

iiNet had not been forwarding email communication from AFACT to users who AFACT had alleged had breached copyright, whereas some other ISPs have been complying with the request.

iiNet CEO Michael Malone (pictured) was among many to take the witness stand at the trial.

The action was filed by Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Disney Enterprises and the Seven Network (Australian licensee of some of the infringed works).

The trial has been viewed by Australia's ISP industry as a major landmark case to help determine how ISPs will react in future to users using their networks to download copyrighted material.

Topics: Telcos, Government AU, Legal

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  • The end summary misses the point

    The end summary misses a vital point,

    "The trial has been viewed by Australia's ISP industry as a major landmark case to help determine how ISPs will react in future to users using their networks to download copyrighted material.

    This was about accusations of infringement, not actual infringement.
  • iiNet

    Common sense prevails :-)
  • afact v iinet case

    This is a great result . It's about time those who are represented by afact realise that P2P file sharing is here to stay ,and it's about time that they embrace P2P file sharing as a positive way of promoting their works

    Now we just need to see some court cases against anti P2P organisations who illegally interfere with file servers on P2P networks.
  • Now for Round 2

    Does this judgement really matter? AFACT will just appeal this, as was always going to happen no matter who won. This case will go on for another 3-4 years.
  • Round 2

    Dependent on the wording of the judgement, of course.

    You're right though, this is how the bigger bank balance always wins - you just keep throwing money at the legal system until your opponent is broke.

    The next round will be astoundingly "complex" - so as to chew through as much cash as possible, it's why iinet was chosen rather than telstra.
  • details of the judgement

    any one know where we could go to get more details of the judgement? how quickly do those things appear online or available to the public?
  • Will there be an appeal

    I wonder if AFACT will appeal, Conroy has indicated that he is willing to consider legislation in the event that AFACT didn't win.

    It would be far more efficient for AFACT to ask Conroy to follow through on those threats.

    Anyway, congratulations to iiNet. :)
  • Great Result

    This is a great result for iiNet and all internet users worldwide. Now I'm just hoping that this ridiculous internet filter proposed by the Australian Right Wing Christian pressure groups is scrapped, otherwise we will have a heavily censored and slow internet in Australia.
  • Internet filter

    How is the time to see if minister Conroy has a backbone or not.
    Because I'm pretty sure AFACT's next move will be to request that all filesharing related websites be added to the new internet filter.
    This is a thing that the minister has ruled out in the past claiming that the filter's purpose will mainly be to combat child porn.
    Lets see if he keeps his word and has the backbone to stand up to AFACT
  • Agreed - legislation

    Conroy did indicate that the government would be prepared to legislate if the world did not see things his way.

    However, given that the internet filter is not popular amongst many Australians - especially young voters - we will have to see if Rudd and Conroy are prepared to allientate even more voters (after the ETS) by legislating against file sharing while maintaining the positions of privilege of the existing tv networks.

    Labour has gone from a commanding position in the polls to one that is now only 4 points ahead of the opposition and the latest mad idea from the US (full body scanning at airports with RF frequencies tha cause bubbles in the DNA) hasnt even hit the shores yet.
  • RE: afact v iinet case


    The case had nothing to do with the legality of P2P - everyone agrees that in many cases, file sharing is illegal.

    The ruling simply indicates that iiNet can't be held responsible for their users' actions, and so that AFACT should probably go after the users themselves.
  • @Internet filter

    It's been suggested that one of the reasons Corporal Conroy is keen on secret government censorship is because it would be simple to add torrents etc to the ever growing list of banned sites.

    Perhaps the big multinationals are large political donors, or perhaps the government may have got a wink and a nod that the companies will use their media power to reelect the govt?

    Conroy has already called for interested parties to give him further lists of things they want banned, so it may not be long before the secret censorship includes a lot more than the headline issue of child porn.
  • Full verdict

    Full verdict is located here
  • judgement online

    You can find it in full here:
  • File Sharing = Future

    I believe that file sharing can be, and should be, legal. It's up to the movie and music industries to figure out how to make money from file sharing.

    CwF + RtB = $$$$$$
  • Amazing

    I guess the kangaroo courts have spoken! LOL

  • Grim future

    There is nothing illegal about file sharing in itself. If you and the people you share files with own the copyright to such files then you are not doing anything wrong.

    What you don't seem to understand is that people downloading music and videos they have not bought or bought a licence to download is the same as going into Woolworths and taking meat, veggies, soft drinks and the like and just strutting through the checkout without paying for the items simply because you believe it should be legal to do so.

    There are plenty of places to buy music and videos online both in DVD and electronic formats so in that sense the producers are making the money you suggest they figure how to make, though only through those legal channels.

    For the record I am happy to see iiNet win this case. ISPs shouldn't be responsible for their users' conduct anymore than a car maker be responsible for those who fill their car up and drive off without paying. The record companies should therefore go after the music thieves themselves but, as another user here suggested, only through legal means.
  • Wrong

    Glad to see your happy that iiNet won the case but I take issue with the idea copying a file is the same as walking into a store and stealing a physical item. There is a massive difference between a physical item that exists and and an artificially created scarcity of a non physical item.
  • Piracy is not stealing, it is copying

    Your comparison fails, file sharing is not like stealing groceries, it is simply making copies of the groceries, and leaving the originals.
  • It's stealing and stealing is wrong

    Hence thefact that when you buy music, videos, software, etc you are not buying the media, only a licence to play and/or install it for personal use.

    Piracy is called piracy for one reason - because piracy is stealing and doing so carries the same gaol terms that come if you steal a box of matches or a 100 metre yacht.

    Guys, read the Crimes Act that applies to your home state. It will not make a distinction between types of products, only the value of what is stolen.