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iiNet barristers corner AFACT solicitor

iiNet's legal counsel took Gilbert & Tobin solicitor Michael Williams to task yesterday afternoon over the credibility of technical evidence he had presented to the court.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

iiNet's legal counsel took the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft's Gilbert & Tobin solicitor Michael Williams to task yesterday afternoon over the credibility of technical evidence he had presented to the court.

Williams kept a steely expression while being double-teamed by iiNet's legal counsels, Richard Cobden and Richard Lancaster. The hearing has reached day seven.

Cobden first questioned Williams on his prior attempts to have the Copyright Act amended. Williams had written to the Attorney-General's Department in 2006 (on behalf of Village Roadshow Ltd, Australian Visual Software Distributors Association and Channel Nine owners, Publishing and Broadcasting Limited) about concerns from carriers that the Telecommunications Act was preventing them from following recommendations of copyright owners, for example, to hand over an infringing customer's details to the owners.

Williams was forced to answer whether its lobbying efforts to have parts of the Telecommunications and Copyright Acts amended had worked. "The outcome was that while the submission was considered, it was not adopted and none of [the three] recommendations were implemented," Williams said.

In what appeared to be an effort to show that copyright owners do have procedures to pursue alleged pirates, Cobden then required Williams to explain the process of a "John Doe" proceedings in relation to copyright infringements.

"It involves preparation, but also a subsequent procedure, say through ... an application for a discovery in order to establish the respondent," Williams said. "Once that's done, an application is made to substitute for the John Doe ... for the name of the person identified through the discovery exercise."

iiNet's legal counsel Lancaster next tried to establish that Williams had over-reported infringements and provided questionable evidence, questioning him for an hour over a statement he'd made based on 20 iiNet customer account activities for about a month and evidence sourced via its hired technical investigators DtecNet.

"Do you know enough about internet connections to know about technical drop outs which have nothing to do with user request but by some technical glitch?" asked Lancaster.

"All too well," replied Williams.

The hearing continues.

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