The Federal Court of Australia has heard how peer-to-peer software, BitTorrent, is used to distribute Linux-based operating systems.
Downloading GNU Linux software was cited as one of the legal uses of BitTorrent during the landmark court case between internet service provider, iiNet, and the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).
iiNet CEO, Michael Malone, took the stand for his third successive day of cross examination in the civil case. AFACT barrister, Tony Bannon SC, questioned Malone about the amount of BitTorrent traffic Linux downloads were likely to account for.
“Yesterday you made reference to GNU Linux software as being a large file,” Bannon said. “You indicated GNU Linux was an operating system a la Macintosh or Windows and, as such, likely to be downloaded, if at all, once by the person who uses it.”
Malone replied that updates to the operating system were regular, but he did not provide details on the amount of traffic they accounted for.
Torrent download is one of the main distribution methods for Linux and other open source software. Sites such as Linux tracker list available torrents.
Malone was questioned about the information provided to customers by the iiNet’s customer service team regarding the use of BitTorrent. He confirmed that the ISP does not support third party applications, but rejected suggestions the “relatively young” young customer service team are “the sort of people you would expect to be familiar with the processes for downloading via BitTorrent”.
“I don’t expect that every young person in Australia is downloading illegally using BitTorrent,” he said.