Justice Cowdroy, presiding over the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) versus iiNet copyright infringement hearing, today said he wanted to see a live demonstration of how BitTorrent is used to download movies.
Following a video presentation by AFACT's barrister QC Bannon of the group's investigator Nigel Carson downloading Warner Bros' movie Batman Begins, Cowdroy asked if he could be shown what other ISPs were facilitating file sharing.
"Can you show me, Mr Bannon, how many other internet providers are providing the same sorts of information? What other ones right now are doing this?" asked Justice Cowdroy, noting that on the list of evidence collected by Carson that iiNet had appeared four times.
While iiNet's initial request to include as evidence how other local ISPs had responded to AFACT's breach notifications was knocked back, Cowdroy today appeared interested in whether other local ISPs were providing similar connectivity to file-sharing clients as iiNet.
Bannon could not recall the names of other ISPs that its investigator had identified, and asked if Cowdroy could refer to a hard copy list which included the names of others identified. "I'd be interested to see this in real life," Cowdroy said.
"This is actually a video of what he did at the time, so it's not online now," Bannon explained, adding that it may in the future give a live demonstration in court.
"Well, we did contemplate actually going online for the purpose of this case and this is something we will consider doing," he said. "But for the purposes of the opening — there may be some controversy about. But it is interesting to see that ... as iiNet sits in this court room represented by its legal representatives that its clients are online accessing these films." The hearing is continuing this afternoon.
Day one of the hearing, which at the time of writing was in recess, has so far seen AFACT's barrister outline its claim that iiNet profits from customers that download copyrighted material and "sanctioned and approved" its customers' file-sharing efforts.
Outside the court, iiNet's managing director, Michael Malone, told media that he disputed AFACT's argument that it supported and profited from its customers downloading copyrighted material.
"We provide internet access. That's where we make our profit from. When people download, that's a cost to us. The more people download, the more it costs us," he added. "The evidence will show over the next few weeks that that is incorrect. Heavy download users make less money for iiNet."