Australian ISPs stay hush hush on copyright breach notices

ISPs decline to reveal how many copyright breach notices they receive on average

Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are remaining tight lipped over the number of copyright breach notices they have received from copyright holders as the iiNet versus the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) case continues in the Federal Court of Australia.

Several ISPs contacted by Computerworld have said they are reluctant to reveal figures as the responsibilities of ISPs in copyright infringement situations are currently under examination in the courts.

In his opening statement to the court, iiNet’s barrister Richard Cobden SC said the ISP had received more than 1350 emails over a seven day period from copyright holders about allegations of breaches. Prior to this AFACT said there had been 94,942 instances of iiNet customers making available online unauthorised copies over a 59-week period.

Computerworld contacted the leading Australian ISPs to verify whether 1350 reflects the average number of complaints received by ISPs across the ICT industry or if it is a unique figure to iiNet. But it appears the iiNet case has struck a chord.

Optus, AAPT, Internode and iPrimus would not comment on the number of complaints of copyright breaches they had received. The four ISPs cited confidentially and the fact the iiNet case is currently before the courts in avoiding the question.

“Given that the matter of how ISP’s should deal with alleged copyright infringements is currently before the courts it’s not appropriate for Primus to make any comment at this time,” said a spokesperson from iPrimus in an email.

While the claims by iiNet and AFACT were surprising to many, it appears ISPs are waiting to hear the court’s position on the responsibilities of ISPs before commenting or revealing their own situations.

“Internode will not make any comments on a case under consideration by the courts. We will leave it for the courts to decide,” said a spokesperson from Internode.

AAPT gave a similar response saying that it is reluctant to comment on copyright breaches. AAPT is looking into Computerworld’s questions but has not yet made an official response.

Computerworld also contacted Telstra, Netspace and Westnet but did not receive a reply.

AFACT has also refused to comment on the number of notices of complaints made against Australian ISPs. “Our investigations are confidential and the only complaints we have commented on is the iiNet case," said a spokesperson for AFACT.

The spokesperson confirmed iiNet received over 10,000 complaints of breaches of copyright over a period of 59 weeks.

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Tags copyrightISPiiNetAustralian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT)AFACT v iiNet

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