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How Dallas Buyers Club gained IP addresses locked down until 2015

Exactly how the rights holders for the film Dallas Buyers Club obtained the IP addresses of users alleged to have downloaded infringing copies of the film will remain under wraps until at least the public hearing set for February next year.

The methodology for how a list of IP addresses from alleged copyright infringers was gained by Dallas Buyers Club LLC will remain a mystery until its case against several Australian ISPs gets its preliminary discovery application heard on February 17, 2015, Justice Perram ruled yesterday.

Perram said that due to the lack of a public hearing thus far, the court would reject applications from ZDNet, the ABC, and the Australian Screen Association to access the expert report and affidavits that are not currently released to the public.

"Presumably, somewhere in this material is the mechanism by which Dallas Buyers Club LLC has collected the IP addresses of the downloaders," Perram said. "No doubt, many people will be interested to understand the mysteries of this process, perhaps not all from a position of disinterest.

"Dallas Buyers Club LLC objected to access being granted to the affidavits or the expert report, but the internet service providers did not, save that they did object to access being granted to Exhibit DM1, which allegedly contains a large number of IP addresses and about which they had some privacy concerns," he said.

The justice said that when the evidence is used, it would likely be released, although whether the IP address collected by Dallas Buyers Club would be released is uncertain.

"At the moment, however, it is all just material which has been filed. It may never be used, or it may be subject to successful objection, or confidentiality orders may be made with respect to it," he said.

Perram granted access to one document used in Federal Court proceedings yesterday.

As well as the Australian Screen Association and media organisations, iiNet, one of the ISPs responding to Dallas Buyers Club LLC, is also interested in knowing how the IP addresses were obtained .

Barrister Richard Lancaster said in court last week that iiNet is not familiar with the system, and that it is different to the system used by the organisations that ultimately lost against iiNet in the High Court in 2012. It is believed that Dallas Buyers Club LLC made use of a system called Maverickeye UG.

Last week, it was revealed that Dallas Buyers Club LLC had been sending letters to iiNet seeking to obtain customer information before the film at the centre of the case was even released.