Vividwireless hypocrisy in war on piracy

Vividwireless has been accused of hypocrisy for ignoring piracy over its networks while being linked to a lawsuit to sue a rival internet provider for the same disregard.
Written by Darren Pauli, Contributor

Vividwireless has been accused of hypocrisy for ignoring piracy over its networks while being linked to a lawsuit to sue a rival internet provider for the same disregard.

The wireless telco is a subsidiary of Seven Group Holdings Limited. The Seven Network is one of a group of 34 litigants led by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), which is suing internet provider iiNet for failing to stop its customers from committing copyright infringement.

The federation has argued that iiNet was authorising copyright infringement because it did not move to stop piracy over its networks despite having knowledge of the infringements and the technical means to prevent it.

AFACT had sent infringement notices to iiNet, which detailed the Internet Protocol addresses of accounts accused of piracy, but the internet service provider argued that it had done enough by stating copyright infringement is not permitted under its acceptable use policy, and was not in a position to act on the information provided to it by AFACT.

It also said it is not the role of internet providers to police piracy, a claim that AFACT strongly refutes.

Staff at vividwireless have told ZDNet Australia that the company does not shape or throttle BitTorrent — a technique commonly used by providers to slow down the file-sharing protocol notorious as a conduit for piracy.

It seems that BitTorrent services are only throttled at peak traffic times. Customers complaining of BitTorrent shaping on the official vividwireless online forums were advised the telco will only block the traffic during congested periods.

Staff also said the company doesn't forward infringement notices to customers, although the vividwireless Acceptable Use Policy warns customers will be notified of breaches, and states that "heavy peer-to-peer data sharing software may fall into this category, and we may give this traffic a lower priority if it is adversely affecting our network".

"You must not illegally reproduce or otherwise infringe copyright material or illegally use or distribute copyright material," the policy said.

The federation argues that iiNet should, but does not, have policy to deal with repeat copyright infringers. Vividwireless also appears to lack a repeat infringer policy.

Vividwireless, Seven Network and AFACT did not wish to discuss the matter when contacted by ZDNet Australia.

iiNet chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby said that vividwireless is being "contradictory".

"It certainly seems to be a contradiction from Seven Network being party to the lawsuit," Dalby said.

"They do not give an example themselves of carrying the sorts of things AFACT is demanding of us."

He said the news highlights that telcos "should not be doing AFACT's work".

Not all internet providers ignore AFACT notices, or allow unchecked use of BitTorrent. Exetel has made a policy of forwarding notifications from "reputable sources" such as AFACT, according to the provider's chief executive John Linton.

"We forwarded infringement notices from other reputable sources since we have been in business," Linton said.

"We still forward infringement notices to end users as a courtesy and for their information in case they are unaware that someone in their household is infringing copyright without their knowledge — parents for instance — or perhaps their wireless connection is being used by other parties without their knowledge."

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