In the Federal Court of Australia today one chapter in a 14-month dispute between a Perth-based Internet Service Provider (ISP) and some of the world's biggest media companies is expected to come to a conclusion.
Both parties, the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) and iiNet, have said they will consider appealing to the High Court if they end up on the losing side of the decision to be handed down by Justice Cowdroy today.
Computerworld will be at the Court to report on the final judgment in what has been described as a landmark case for the ICT industry and copyright in Australia.
The ISP is accused of being complicit in the infringement of AFACT's clients' copyrighted material.
The plaintiffs — among them Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Disney Enterprises, and the Seven Network — claim that iiNet is aware of the problem but has chosen not to take reasonable steps, including enforcing its own terms and conditions, to prevent known unauthorised use of copies of the companies’ films and TV programs by iiNet’s customers.
iiNet has refuted the claims, saying it had passed on AFACT complaints to enforcement authorities.
This week several ISPs told Computerworld they were eagerly awaiting the decision, but their views on the potential ramifications were split.
Webshield managing director Anthony Pillon said the ruling will "ultimately decide" whether an ISP is responsible for instances of copyright infringement on its network. However, iPrimus CEO Ravi Bahati told Computerworld he doubts ISPs will be required to police their networks for copyright infringement or chase down potentially offending customers in the wake of the decision.