Film industry sues iiNet over BitTorrent downloads

The major film studios and Channel 7 are suing iiNet, claiming its customers have infringed their copyright.

iiNet CEO, Michael Malone

iiNet CEO, Michael Malone

The leading film studios and Channel 7 have taken legal action against iiNet claiming the ISP is complicit in the infringement of their copyrighted material.

The action was filed in the Federal Court today.

According to a statement of claim, “the ISP knows that there are a large number of customers who are engaging in continuing infringements of copyright by using BitTorrent file sharing technology”.

The plaintiffs — Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Disney Enterprises, and the Seven Network — claim that iiNet is aware of the problem but has chosen not to take reasonable steps, including enforcing its own terms and conditions, to prevent known unauthorised use of copies of the companies’ films and TV programs by iiNet’s customers.

“iiNet refused to address this illegal behaviour and did nothing to prevent the continuation of the infringements by the same customers,” said executive director of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), Adrianne Pecotic, speaking on behalf of its film industry members.

“iiNet has an obligation under the law to take steps to prevent further known copyright infringement via its network,” she said.

iiNet CEO Michael Malone disputed AFACT’s claim that it refused to address the issue.

“We have been replying to them each time as well,” he replied. “We have been passing on all those complaints directly on to the state police – who are in our building. The police have reams of this stuff from AFACT,” he said.

I think they genuinely believe that ISPs have a secret magic wand that we are hiding and if we bring it out we can make piracy disappear just by waving it

iiNet CEO Michael Malone

According to Malone, AFACT is expecting iiNet to do the impossible.

“They send us a list of IP addresses and say ‘this IP address was involved in a breach on this date’. We look at that say ‘well what do you want us to do with this? We can't release the person’s details to you on the basis of an allegation and we can't go and kick the customer off on the basis of an allegation from someone else’. So we say ‘you are alleging the person has broken the law; we’re passing it to the police. Let them deal with it’.”

He said another problem with this traffic is that is not on its network. “It is transiting our network along with the billions of other things passing across the network which are perfectly legal. We are not traffic cops. We can't stand in the middle of it and stop the individual items that might be against the law. These guys are asking us to be judge, jury and executioner," Malone said.

"I think they genuinely believe that ISPs have a secret magic wand that we are hiding and if we bring it out we can make piracy disappear just by waving it. And it doesn’t exist."

According to AFACT, some of the titles infringed by the iiNet network include I Am Legend, Happy Feet, American Gangster and episodes from TV series such as Heroes, Family Guy, The Simpsons, and Prison Break.

The film companies are seeking unspecified damages.

The proceedings will be back before the court on 17 December.

Tags legaliiNetP2P

More about iiNetLegendParamount PicturesSeven NetworkSonyTwentieth Century FoxVIAVillage RoadshowWarner Bros

7 Comments

Anonymous

1

Does this mean...

Does this mean I can now sue the government for providing a road network which allows burglars to make a quick getaway after stealing the TV from my living room?

Or maybe the ISP's can sue the 'content producers' like the film/TV/music industries for knowingly creating content that may be pirated therefore hogging bandwidth?

Anonymous

2

A magic wand that removes all piracy, and privacy.
Don't worry, if the "Clean Feed" somehow manages to get implemented to a point where it can do what it is meant to (it will take years and lots of money, with horrendous screw ups along the way) you wont need to worry about any of those things. Think of the Children! and definitely don't think that you should be responsible for them yourself.

Andrew Hendry

Staff

3

Well done iiNet!!!

How dare these film companies try to influence the ISPs to take some sort of action against their customers.
The ISPs do not and should not have any influence into what their customers do online, unless it involves serious violent crimes or exploitation of children.
I applaud iiNet for taking a stand and not divulging its customers details, well done.
By the film companies reasoning, Sony should sue itself for providing the blank DVDs on which the infringing material is burnt to - that is facilitating piracy too!! Or better yet, sue Telstra for providing the last mile over which the data is transferred! lol what a joke.
Do these companies not realise that actions like this only make people want to pirate more, because they are disgusted by the unscrupulous greedy film companies and their army of high priced lawyers.

Thomas Anderson

4

And what happened with privacy laws?

Maybe I am a nitwit. Maybe I am not in touch with the world. I never get beyond reading the newspaper on line and maybe looking some stuff up at Wiki. But...

Last time I checked, at least in the country I live in, there was a privacy law. Now I know that there have been zillions of reasons why people say that we have to be more "creative" with the privacy laws. That is why there are cameras everywhere in the UK, the Patriot Act is not so patriotic, and all kinds of government officials rub their hands. The more electronics and Dbases, the more we can track, connect, overlay, and address if, for example, somebody flushed their loo one time too many.

Now history does provide us with good examples. Like with the current credit crunch, this all happened before... In the 1930s the Germans used their excellent records to round up people because their grandmas were Jewish, or they were homosexual. The result is known. That is why privacy laws were instated in Germany as they are now after WW2 by the Allies. That is why there is no Google StreetView in Germany. But could it be that the Allies now made the same mistake they tried to avoid? And on a more personal level, how do you feel if indeed Big Brother is not only watching you, but addresses you when they measure your actions against his yard stick?

For what it is worth, well done iiNet. And FYI, I got my old cassette player out. Excellent for making copies. Proven technique since 1977 ;-)

Anonymous

5

Big Media and Conjob's Big Filter

Am I the only one who wonders if there might be any connection between these legalistic attempts to screw iiNet, etc, and Conjob's promotion of The Big Filter?

After all, the government has been good enough to admit that TBF will be used to screen what they consider "inappropriate" material, secretly and with no public oversight of what has been banned.

And I wonder if Big Media have made any substantial political donations lately?

Anonymous

6

Greedy bastards!

Angel

7

Embrace P2P culture - quit fighting a losing war against 'internet piracy'.

Google "The Tunnel" A movie produced free of charge for legal download via BitTorrent, crowd-funded by selling each frame of the film as 'memorabilia' for $1.

This is the future, stop living in denial. Catch up, or you'll be left behind.

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