Voltage Pictures, the company behind the film Dallas Buyers Club, has called on the Federal Court to force internet service providers (ISPs) to hand over customer details for thousands of Australians by May 6.
Earlier this month, Justice Nye Perram ordered iiNet, Dodo, and four other ISPs to hand over the details of account holders associated with 4,726 IP addresses alleged to have downloaded the film over peer-to-peer services, but with a catch: Voltage will need to pay the costs for the ISPs, and the court must see a draft of the letters to be sent out to customers before any details will be handed over.
This was designed to avoid so-called "speculative invoicing", which Voltage has used in the US to demand up to $9,000 in compensation from users who would otherwise face having to pay potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages under court order.
In a directions hearing in Sydney on Wednesday, Voltage argued that it should not be forced to pay the costs of the case, considering it was victorious, and also sought to be compensated for flying out a Maverickeye employee, Daniel Macek, from Germany to Australia for his cross-examination.
"It was their choice as to whether they enter the ring. They didn't have ... immunity from costs. In those circumstances, we ought to have our costs," Voltage counsel Ian Pike said.
Pike said that iiNet chose to "fight the battle of the third party to which they are a stranger" and should bear the costs for losing the case.
Pike revealed that the company is seeking for iiNet and others to hand over the details of customers by May 6, but the actual draft form of the letter would not be ready until that date. iiNet is seeking AU$275,000 in security from Dallas Buyers Club LLC before it hands over the details.
Perram said he would produce orders on costs between middle to late next week, but indicated that a further hearing would be held on the draft letter.
"Mr Pike might roll up with a letter ... I'm sure you won't be happy about it," Perram told iiNet counsel Richard Lancaster.
Perram said there would be a debate, and "then I [will] produce a short set of reasons".
Pike said the debate should be between Voltage and Perram alone, stating that iiNet has "no interest" in determining the form of the letter sent to its customers.
The case continues.