Studios can't torrent what they preach

Studios can't torrent what they preach

Summary: When a group is caught out not practising what it preaches, it's easy to mock them for it, but there's more to it than that with the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).


When a group is caught out not practising what it preaches, it's easy to mock them for it, but there's more to it than that with the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).

The news that AFACT members Sony, Fox and Universal were allegedly downloading films and TV shows using BitTorrent will probably be pretty amusing to people, considering they've waged a strong campaign in Australia against the practice, moralising how all the bad torrents supposedly cost $1.4 billion annually to industries in Australia, and the organisation has even taken iiNet to the High Court over the issue.

But it's not that simple.

The tests used by TorrentFreak on were from a range of IP addresses that were supposedly matched with the three film studios, and the results were given for individual IP addresses from each. This means that it may just have been one IP address, or even one employee who was caught illegally downloading things. Surely the company can't be held responsible for what the employee does with their connection?

The problem with that argument is that it is the exact argument that AFACT sought to dismiss in its case arguing that iiNet authorises the actions of its users by not passing on copyright-infringement notices.

iiNet had argued that regardless of the system it had in place, ultimately the individual user makes a choice to download a torrent, and iiNet has little control over that.

AFACT conversely argued that an infringement warning system with a graduated response that could lead to the suspension of a customer's internet service would likely be a deterrent from customers infringing in the first place.

But what does Sony, Fox or Universal have to do to stop their employees from doing similar things? Most companies would have some form of appropriate-use guidelines in place for technology with reprimands, or even dismissal for misuse of technology. A lot of companies have even deployed internet filters that go out and specifically block sites that would have torrents to download.

But none of that seems to have stopped these employees from grabbing JJ Abrams' Steven Spielberg tribute Super 8, or the fantasy HBO series Game of Thrones.

If the data is accurate, then AFACT has undercut a significant argument in its own court case. No matter what measures you put in place to limit this sort of behaviour, people will find a way.

Can't stop the signal.

Topics: Piracy, Government AU, Security


Armed with a degree in Computer Science and a Masters in Journalism, Josh keeps a close eye on the telecommunications industry, the National Broadband Network, and all the goings on in government IT.

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  • Hmmmmmm! as the old saying goes "people living in glass houses shouldnt throw stones". The fact is that Bittorent has made sharing so easy that even the people who allegedly claim to be fighting intelectual piracy are aiding and abetting its conduct by using it themselves and in the case of the major media companies quoted in this article actually using it as a means of industrial espionage, at this point any untainted member of the judiciary hearing a claim made by AFACT or any other body claiming intelectual property rights violations should throw the claim out of court on the grounds of the sheer hypocracy that is demonstrated here.
  • Busted.... but how ironic.

    Hollywood is tryna do us all in, where as an employee's IP is found doing the same thing we are .....

    Lets see them get out of this one.

    Hopefully this make turn the cheeck of hoillywood, if they now realise if its easy for em employee to do it, how many others are doing the same .....

    Maybe its time for everyone at hollywood to bit torrent, then things may change then :P

    How far do u need to go to prove it
  • It's very difficult for me to let this pass, without commenting.
    If this is true, then the studios would have their ISP suspend or restrict their corporate access to the internet for such infringements because, they say, the account holder (Son, Fox & Universal ?) must be held responsible for any user using the internet service on that IP address, at that time.
  • As is usual with these self riotous organisations... it's not... do as I do, it's do as I say.
    It's no surprise their own Australian staff want to see or hear the latest..yet we/they are denied access to it. They'd earn more respect if they stopped spending millions on court cases & made the media available to the world, instead of their smart a*se marketing & blocking access to the latest in the hope of protecting the top end of town..err Foxtel. Telstra, the TV channels, etc..

    Wake up you morons!