iiTrial judgement due next week

The judgement for the long-awaited iiNet trial will be delivered next week, with Justice Dennis Cowdroy set to rule next Thursday morning.

The judgement for the long-awaited iiNet trial will be delivered next week, with Justice Dennis Cowdroy set to rule next Thursday morning.

The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) brought the case against internet service provider iiNet in November 2008 for allegedly allowing its users to download and upload copyrighted content from its members which include major film studios including Universal Pictures, Channel 7, Disney Corporation, Village Roadshow and Twentieth Century Fox.

iinet afact trial

(My DVD Collection (pt.2) image by Andres Rueda, CC2.0)

When court adjourned on 26 November 2009, both iiNet and observers expected to wait until winter for a verdict. However, the NSW Federal Court today announced Justice Cowdroy would deliver his judgement at 9:30am on Thursday, 4 February.

Spokespeople for both iiNet and the AFACT have stated they are looking forward to the decision. An iiNet spokesperson said, "We welcome the early decision. We still remain confined of our position and we're looking forward to hearing the judgement on the 4th [of February]."

AFACT responded to ZDNet.com.au's inquiries by stating, "We're looking forward to the decision &mdash because it's going to be a decision."

While the judgement is coming sooner than some expected, this may not mark the end of the 18-month contest between the two parties. Many expect the losing side to appeal Cowdroy's verdict.

Throughout the trial many other issues have arisen, including iiNet's refusal to pass on AFACT notifications to its customers, Internet Industry Association's (IIA) rejected attempt to contribute to the case, and some of AFACT's members' association with torrent programs such as BitTorrent.

ZDNet.com.au's coverage of the iiNet versus AFACT case is available here and here (for live Twitter coverage).

The iiTrial has received much attention for both the content of the case and the possible implications of the verdict. Cowdroy's verdict may influence the regulation of digital piracy in the future, with iiNet potentially becoming the first Australian ISP required to notify and terminate the accounts of those proven to have pirated copyrighted content.