AFACT v iiNet - The bell sounds for round one

Civil case between film studios and iiNet to kick off today

10.15 am. Court Room 18C. Federal Court of Australia, New South Wales Registry. October 6, 2009.

Mark it down. It may just be one of the most important dates in Australian ICT and copyright history.

It's the start of: Roadshow Films Pty Ltd ACN 100 746 870 & Ors v iiNet Ltd ACN 068 628 937

In other words, the civil action between a host of film Studios and a couple of TV stations - as represented by Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT ) - versus Internet Service Provider (ISP), iiNet.

Today AFACT will present its case in a proceeding that may take up to one and a half days. During that time it is expected legal representation for AFACT will run through a host of arguments, the essence being that iiNet did not do enough to stop its customers using peer to peer networks (BitTorrent) to share copyrighted files.

In its defence, which should take a similar amount of time to run through, iiNet will most likely vigorously hit back at the accusation and say it has not given any support to copyright infringement by its customers.

The case, being heard by Justice Cowdroy will run for two weeks on, two weeks break and then two weeks on again. Mid-November we may just have a new precedent for the interplay between ISPs, Internet use by individuals/organisations and copyright protection that has ramifications across the globe.

We also may have more clarity on the issue of what an ISP has to do in order to qualify for safe harbour protection (as described in the Copyright Act) - which basically is the provision for exempting it from liability when copyright infringement occurs on its service.

And those aiming to stop the rampant infringement of their copyright, not just the big film studios and broadcasters but also small time artists and digital creators, may know whether this approach is one legitimate means to achieving their goals.

As a civil case AFACT is seeking either damages (money) or for a court order to make or stop iiNet from doing something. It's unlikely, though, that the argument will be over in the public sphere.

The court documents and a list of those participating in the case can be found here.

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Comments

Anonymous

1

what a joke, hope this gets throw out within the first week. internet is srs business

john H.

2

I would like to know one thing...How come the TV Channels allow us to copy a movie directly off their broadcast...Don't you think this is the smae situation...how do they know we are not Pasing those copies copys on....I think the TV industry should also look at itself and also be fined in court for breaching their own copy rite laws.

Jeff Thelotofem

3

It's a ridiculous situation that downloading movies or TV shows is worse than committing murder to some degree yet the very same shows are free to watch at our leisure 12 months down the track. These entertainment industry clowns need to get with the times and realize that they are trying to kill off their own audience. They can easily make money off the franchises but they choose the greedy way out and pick the easy targets. I'd rather not watch TV at all than play the game their way. Friends will still have the things I want to watch, one way or another.

Austin

4

It is strange that in all the time VCRs existed, they didn't pursue the manufacturers of these devices or the people who made blank tapes which facilitated coping and distribution.

Anonymous

5

Name one small time artist who gives a rats arse about copy right infringement, the internet has liberated small artists from the clutches of the big media companies. Voting Green next election, Labor are right wing hacks.

The Times are a' Changing

6

Well, it looks like im going to vote for the Australian Pirate Party from now on.

Anonymous

7

Well if you vote Labor they will make a new 3 strike policy for copy write infringement, but this will force ISP's to install better monitoring software and extremely hard to implement which will only lead to the price of our internet to sky rocket, but if this does happen all bit torrent users have to do is force encryption on file sharing and use a proxy to download .torrents, so you are wasting your time big TV companies, did you know the people downloading your shit wouldn't buy it if they had to pay for it anyway so it's a loose loose, so give up!!

McD

8

At least recording broadcasts implies you have a legitimate subscription to the broadcast in the first place & most DVR usage is locked into the set-top box (sorry DVD recroders never really get used in the grand scheme of things). Also, flogging pirated VCR tapes at market doesn't have the same kind of distribution ease or scale that a single day on the net delivers.

Actually, I'd like the AFACT to win - bear with me. The media market does need to evolve but all the while they're blaming losses on piracy rather than focussing on better strategy (i.e. services how we want them) the back-office penny-watchers are winning. Take away the piracy excuse and get the corporate machine to look at constructive, user-beneficial services and deals - the only way forward is to embrace new media tech & with the distractions gone shareholders can insist on new revenue schemes or the CEO's head.

McD

Anonymous

9

To McD
If AFACT win do you

To McD
If AFACT win do you think the film companies are going to change their business practices. An win by AFACT would only reinforce their model. If AFACT lose, they're on step closer to having no choice but to change. This nothing but a lawsuit from a number of large, extremely rich companies who have it in their head that the little man is bringing them down. Give em a box of tissues and tell them to get over it. Put out a high quality product at a reasonable price and watch piracy go downhill.

Anonymous

10

The whole bang big media names (and do yourself a favor and try to find out who's behind most of them) have been too busy bringing us rubbish anyway, I couldn't care about any of their products.

The big problem is Rupert Murdoch and his zionist crew who want the internet under their full control so we bloggers can't talk about the holocaust in gaza etc.

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