The Internet Industry Association (IIA) has confirmed
that it will seek to intervene as an impartial friend of the court
in the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT)
lawsuit against internet service provider iiNet.
"We confirm that we have written to the parties in the iiNet
case late last week advising them of our intention to seek leave to
appear as amicus curiae in the matter," said Peter Coroneous, chief
executive of the group, which counts iiNet amongst its members.
The executive declined to reveal what the group's purpose was in
attempting to enter the ongoing court proceedings, saying it did
not want to prejudice its application by engaging in
media commentary at this stage. However, Coroneous claimed the
litigation constituted "a very important test case for the internet
However, a spokesperson for AFACT confirmed that the group's legal
counsel said that the federation would oppose the move, arguing in court today that
the IIA did not fit the definition of independent bystander
required by the amicus curiae rule, which allows organisations to
be involved in proceedings as a "friend of the court".
The spokesperson pointed out the IIA counted iiNet as a member and
was a representative body. "Counsel said today that the evidence
that he's seen and the documents he's seen through discovery
suggests that the IIA has been quite involved in the case in the
An iiNet spokesperson confirmed it had spoken with the IIA since AFACT first sought legal action against the ISP, as had a number of other groups, for example telcos like Telstra. However, the spokesperson said iiNet had not sought for the IIA to join the case, nor counselled them to do so.
The IIA's legal counsel, Clayton Utz, had written to AFACT
to let the group know that it didn't intend to make any pleadings,
lead evidence or bring witnesses in the case, the AFACT spokesperson said.
The AFACT counsel argued that a decision about whether to
allow the IIA into the proceedings should only be made close to the
end of the court case, so that the association could see what
evidence had been presented and see what they could then contribute.