Telstra aids iiNet in AFACT case

Telstra aids iiNet in AFACT case

Summary: iiNet today revealed it had received legal assistance from arch-rival Telstra in defending against the lawsuit from the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).


iiNet today revealed it had received legal assistance from arch-rival Telstra in defending against the lawsuit from the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).

The help has been in the form of advice from Telstra's legal team. "I've got to say, when I spoke to the lawyer there, he asked how can we help, and I said 'write me a check'," Malone joked. "He didn't quite agree with that one, but no, they're providing us with expert advice and advice to our legal team."

The executive (pictured, image credit: iiNet), speaking today at iiNet's results for the half year to 31 December 2008, added the ISP was also backed by the Internet Industry Association in the case, which sees AFACT representing movie studios alleging iiNet had allowed its users to download pirated films and television shows.

It was in Telstra's best interests to aid iiNet, Malone said: "Telstra wants iiNet to win this case and to win it convincingly. Nobody wants a precedent out there that's bad because we defended the case incompetently. While they're not joined to this case in any way explicitly, they're simply there to advise us."

Telstra's media head Justin Milne backed iiNet's views when the case was first filed last year.

Before AFACT filed the case, it had been sending information about copyright infringers to iiNet. AFACT alleges iiNet didn't respond correctly to these notices. iiNet said it had sent them on to the Western Australian police to deal with.

Some other ISPs sent on the infringements as warnings to the customers who were using the IP addresses allegedly involved in downloading pirated films and television shows. AFACT maintains that such warnings do discourage offenders.

Early this month the case had a directions hearing, which set the date the case would be heard: 6 October. iiNet did not dispute that copyright for the allegedly pirated titles existed, but did dispute whether or not it was liable for any infringement if it occurred.

Topics: Telcos, Government AU, Legal, Telstra

Suzanne Tindal

About Suzanne Tindal

Suzanne Tindal cut her teeth at as the site's telecommunications reporter, a role that saw her break some of the biggest stories associated with the National Broadband Network process. She then turned her attention to all matters in government and corporate ICT circles. Now she's taking on the whole gamut as news editor for the site.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • write me a check?

    Better cheque the spelling.
  • A Cold Day Has Come to Hell

    I bet AFACT didn't want this cold day in hell to come. They hoped to pick off iinet before using the precedent against Telstra. Now, they get Telstra's lawyers and iinet's on their back at the same time.

    Good on common sense from Telstra. Shame upon the dolts at AFACT.
  • Check the cheque

    I'm guessing there's some confusion because the american spelling apparently is check, while we spell it cheque.

    Anywho, I'm not surprised they're getting some help from Sol$tra, although I expected them to do more. If iiNet loses then everyone knows that EVERY ISP is next.
  • ISP's Rights & Responsibilities

    I hope that telstra will intervene in the Stephen Conroy filtering debacle. I'm wondering why the ISP's can't just be allowed to offer "filtered Plans".
    Off with Conroys head!
  • AFACT are a public enemy

    ISP's like telephone service providers provide a conection service. They are not responsible for how it is used, nor are they responsible for policing it's useage. Strange as it may seem, police do that, so iiNet did the right thing in passing on complaints to the police. Should the unthinkable happen and AFACT win this case, then everyone, the public at large will suffer. Lets hope some common sense and justice prevail rather than some stupid legal technicality. Please don't think however that I condone breach of copyright, I don't, but there is a right way to tackle the problem, and AFACT need to learn that.
  • What a waste of time and money

    The movie industry are wasting time and money by pursuing this. If iiNet were advising AFACT to send the complaints to the police, why didn't AFACT do that?

    Why continue to send notices, not have them dealt with, receive a response saying that you should contact the police, keep sending notices to iiNet regardless and then bring on a court case after not doing what *you* were told?

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
    Albert Einstein
  • Alright

    didnt expect telstra to provide much legal assistance to iinet, but i guess they would all prefer a better outcome from this.
    And a reply to one of the responses is that telstra/similar could offer a "filtered internet" account and heavily advertise it with the $$ that this would cost, itd be better
  • non FACT or logic

    The music industry and associated should fix their business model, pricing and product.

    Why should ISPs take the role of the police, and be induced to become vigilantes?

    Yeah Telstra, help iiNET because stupid litigation and laws from Conservatives must be fought if not before they become law through a counter precedent.
    (Please make your next joint target Senator Conroy with his censorship project.)

    Periods of copyright should be reduced to not more than 5 years.

    Copyleft, not copyright.
  • AFACT maintains that such warnings do discourage offenders.

    "AFACT maintains that such warnings do discourage offenders."

    yeah thats right. it doesnt it makes users get smarter by using peer guardian or finding private trackers that do not allow the movie ppl to join
  • What about Telstra v APRA?

    I refer you to Telstra v APRA (1997) re telephone connections:

    Although it was a specific legislative context (which has since changed), it does show that, perhaps regrettably, copyright law is not always about common sense.
  • Old proverb

    "My enemy's enemy is my friend". It's good to see Telstra and iinet putting aside differences to fight the greater evil.
  • Went as planned

    AFACT endeavoured to manufacture a set of circumstances that would be favourable to their case. Everything was by design, from the very beginning. They knew how iiNet were going to react, and simply wanted to collect the neccessary evidence to present in court.
  • Copyright Period

    In reply to 'periods of copyright should be reduced to not more than 5 years' - absolutely not!

    As a content producer my work is my life and I want to be able to protect it. Don't blame the artists, blame the distributors. It would be brilliant to be able to provide work to everyone no matter where they are and be paid via mini-ads that appear. To say that we don't deserve payment by losing our copyright is just wrong.

    Let's hope the court case sucks AFACT funds dry because THIS WAS A STUPID BASIS TO SUE AN ISP PROVIDER.
    Would village roadshow sue their own cinemas if idiots film the show ? By the same reasoning, iiNET should sue the Village Roadshow for allowing its films to be pirated in their own cinemas...far fetched assumption of the same basis..The same law and logic has to apply.
  • as an internet professional

    i can't help but think that if the people in question weren't downloading copyrighted material illegally then no isp would be in this mess to begin with
  • No illegal downloading occurred

    The AFACT person downloading the material was authorised or equivalent to download material. If the offence was investigated by the police then this may have been discovered and AFACT would have to explain why the police were called to investigate nothing. Many people use torrents and file shares for transferring copy right and free material legally. Allegations are only that until fully investigated and proven to a measurable benchmark.

    I think an ISP should stick to providing the path and keep out of the content probing as it will only cause complications.
  • AFACT is the suckage

    AFACT are uselessness squared. They made an example of one or two retailers over parallel- imported DVDs too. These retailers imported official DVDs from overseas because they were quicker or better there. the bucks still went back to papa movie studio but because the lazy-ass, near-enough-good-enough local distribs didn't care for it because it threatened them with needing to actually perform, the letter of the law was enforced. But only once or twice. Other retailers still do it unopposed because AFACT has now been ordered just try and fry these bigger fish. Well, I for one am sick of their Dudley DoRightness. Let their bastard parent the MPAA ban all viewing of movies, anywhere, any way, because that's the only way they'll stop this all now. Idiots. Worse: cashed-up idiots. And Mr Gane and Ms Pecotic, go stuff yourselves.
  • Copyright Period

    Copyright was originally supposed to protect a work for a limited period. I agree that 5 years may be too short, but current copyright provisions are too long.

    I would think that somewhere between 14-20 years would allow the original copyright owner enough time to profit from it, and still allow others to make derivitive works after the copyright expires.

    It seems that the copyright period keeps getting longer and longer. What is it now, Artist's life + 70 years or something? That is in the realm of absurdity.
  • iiNet disconnected my ADSL2+ without notice

    iiNet disconnected my ADSL2+ without notice 3 days ago.

    iiNet seems to be saying one thing to the media, and another to it’s clients.

    Not that it matters now, but I was phoned a day later by a manager claiming that I was disconnected and my web page removed for having 'Illegal Content'.

    I argued that I had 'NO ILLEGAL CONTENT' on their server whatsoever.

    I had ‘LINKS’ which by themselves were not ‘Copyrighted Material’ or ‘Intellectual Property’ of any kind.

    I now hope that iiNet sinks deeper than TPB.
    I want a refund ! Their Simply Two Faced.
  • Conroy Conjob

    Hmm. someone needs to can Conroy, his internet filtering, is a joke, and Based on IPV4, which we are heading to IPv6, so again we are wasting money. iiNet, I hope they do win, this will leave a hole for allISP to be next, at this level, we could say good bye internet, and yet we still didn't get real highspeed broadband, still this slow DSL2 stuff, when can we have 100MB FD into our house???