AFACT v iiNet: ISP wins, studios to pay costs

iiNet wins its case against AFACT in the Federal Court of Australia

Justice Cowdroy has thrown out the case against the Australian Federation Againts Copyright Theft (AFACT), stating the ISP did not facilitate copyright infringement.

He told a packed but small court room in the Federal Court that he sought advice from US authorities on copyright law and examined the infamous trial against Kazaa in his decision.

Cowdroy found iiNet only provided Internet access and, in doing so, had no responsibility for copyright infringement and abuse of peer to peer applications like BitTorrent.

"iiNet did not authorise infringement of copyright by its users," Cowdroy told an audience of 70.

"In the law of authorisation there is a distinction to be drawn of the means of copyright infringement... the mere provision of access to the Internet [does] not authorise infringement."

"iiNet has no control of the BitTorrent system and is not responsible for its use by users."

He said the prevalence of copyright abuse over peer to peer does not justify the case "merely that something must be done to stop it"

iiNet posted a summary of its position in February, setting out its defence. Among other things, it quote Part V, Division 2AA of the Copyright Act which sets out a statutory regime, commonly known as the “safe harbour regime” which the ISP said "limits the remedies available against carriage service providers for infringement of copyright provided that the carriage service provider complies with relevant conditions".

The Kazaa case cited by Justice Cowdroy refers to the dramatic legal battle between file-sharing software developer, Kazaa, and the entertainment industry. Kazaa agreed to pay at least $US100 million to four record companies and an additional amount to motion picture companies to settle two lawsuits.

The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) has said it will consider appealing to the High Court were it to lose the case.


Have your say on the outcome of the case on the Computerworld forums.

Join the Computerworld Australia group on Linkedin. The group is open to IT Directors, IT Managers, Infrastructure Managers, Network Managers, Security Managers, Communications Managers.

More about: ACT, iiNet
References show all

Comments

Patrick

1

Yah!

Finally some sense is brought to bear.

Now for this dumb filtering idea of Conroy's.

Sure, if you want it you should be able to get it, but it should not be enforced.

Digital Freedom Fighter

2

This is a great result . It's about time those who are represented by afact realise that P2P file sharing is here to stay ,and it's about time that they embrace P2P file sharing as a positive way of promoting their works

Now we just need to see some court cases against anti P2P organisations who illegally interfere with file servers on P2P networks.

Digital Freedom Fighter

3

Now the next thing will be , that those fools from AFACT will start pushing Minister Conroy for P2P urls and Torrent search engines to be added to the new internet filter .If theres any justice they should also loose that battle

Adrian

4

It is not the ISP's responsibility to filter the internet.. or even at all. This was a seriously senseless and dumb case. It's like suing American Airlines because the terrorists used their planes, or Toyota because the bank robber used their car as a getaway vehicle. Try settling the issue with actual P2P sharing companies.

Adam

5

Haven't really followed this case but why was iiNet targeted? Surely all of the ISP provide a method for filing sharing? Or is it that iiNet is big enough to make a decent payout, but not too big to have a super legal team, that the likes of Telstra could afford?

NotSure

6

@ Adrian... I kind of disagree. Providing a service still means that the host needs to ensure safe use of it. An airline must have security to try to stop terrorists, a car manufacturer must ensure it includes seatbeats to keep people safe.

I know this isnt the exactly the same but there is a responsibility from the provider of the product or service. Also, P2P companies don't exist any more. Kazaa was the last of these useless apps. Now there are torrents hosted by trackers and there are thousands of them. The bigger problem is that they don't host the illegal material.

So who is responsible? The person downloading it. Only problem is organisations like the AFACT wouldn't earn any money by suing the individual.

I feel that the media industrial needs to embrace the technology. We are talking about no hosting costs to distribute massive amounts of data all around the world. Create a easy and cheap option that allows for people to watch "that new episode" and I'm sure that all this activity would reduce.

simon

7

@notsure..iinets responsibility is to provide a good service for person to access the internet, not to police or make sure 'bad' things don't happen while i use it. a car manufacturer can and has too include seatbelts but your idea of safe use would mean a Toyota employee would have to be in the car with you at all times to make sure you drove correctly and to stop you from doing anything that was illegal. That's about as stupid as trying to implement a internet filtering system.
At some stage the end user has to be responsible for their actions and the ISP should not be involved or have to monitor that usage.

Comments are now closed.
Related Coverage
Related Whitepapers
Latest Stories
Community Comments
Tags: Federal Court of Australia, Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), AFACT v iiNet, ISPs, iiNet
Whitepapers
All whitepapers

Mobile payments in Australia: state of the banks

READ THIS ARTICLE
DO NOT SHOW THIS BOX AGAIN [ x ]
Sign up now to get free exclusive access to reports, research and invitation only events.

Computerworld newsletter

Join the most dedicated community for IT managers, leaders and professionals in Australia