AFACT v iiNet: Judge denies Internet Industry Association application to be heard in the trial

IIA's submission ruled irrelevant in landmark copyright court case

The Internet Industry Association’s (IIA) application to be heard in the trial between Perth ISP iiNet and AFACT was rejected by the Federal Court today, after its submission was ruled irrelevant.

AFACT objected to iiNet’s intervention because the submission did not provide any information that had not already been heard in court.

"The court acknowledges that the fact that the IIA could not be considered impartial is irrelevant. Equally, it is irrelevant that the IIA happens to have a perspective which is aligned with one of the parties and not the other,” stated Justice Cowdry in a written ruling.

The case between iiNet and a group of 34 music and movie companies represented by the Australian Federation against Copyright Theft (AFACT) drew to an end today after closing submissions from AFACT.

AFACT claimed iiNet gave authorisation for the countless copyright infringements and did not prevent the infringements by their refusal to identify and terminate the customer accounts.

Although iiNet said it did not have the power to prevent the illegal sharing of music and movies files, AFACT insists that the step of threatening to terminate and then terminating the account identified as infringing copyright is seen as a method of prevention.

“It’s not an order designed to punish, it’s an order established to prevent,” said the chief barrister of AFACT, Tony Bannon SC.

He added that iiNet encouraged the download of illegal media as it continued to offer its service and did not intervene, thereby giving authorisation for downloads.

The ISP iiNet pleads its case according to Section 112E of the copyright act, which states:

"A person (including a carrier or carriage service provider) who provides facilities for making, or facilitating the making of, a communication is not taken to have authorised any infringement of copyright in an audio visual item merely because another person uses the facilities so provided to do something the right to do which is included in the copyright."

iiNet further argues that since the company does not own BitTorrent, it is not liable for the downloads from the sites.

Bannon refuted this claim, stating that without iiNet’s facilities, by providing internet connection, its customers would not be able to download copyright material from the sites.

The trial concludes today and but a verdict on the case is expected to take months.

Read more about the landmark AFACT v iiNet copyright case.

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