The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) has welcomed a US Federal Court ruling that popular peer-to-peer file sharing service, LimeWire and its operators, are liable for inducement of copyright infringement.
In what is being viewed as a hefty blow to the P2P service, the US court ruled LimeWire and its founder, Mark Gorton, were liable for copyright infringement.
Notably, Judge Kimba Wood of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled Gorton was personally liable for infringements incurring on the LimeWire service and that his failure to mitigate infringements through the deployment of filtering technologies was a sign of inducement.
An AFACT spokesperson said the decision was one of many being made by courts and governments around the world to address the issue of illegal P2P file sharing.
"We have no issue with Bit Torrent as a technology when used legally but it must not be used to deny artists their rights and rob them of revenue they deserve in return for their efforts and creativity," the spokesperson said in a written response. "That is the kind of work we are seeking to protect .”
In a statement, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said it was happy with the court's ruling.
“LimeWire is one of the largest remaining commercial peer-to-peer services. Unlike other P2P services that negotiated licenses, imposed filters or otherwise chose to discontinue their illegal conduct following the Supreme Court's decision in the Grokster case, LimeWire instead thumbed its nose at the law and creators," RIAA CEO, Mitch Bainwol, said. "The court’s decision is an important milestone in the creative community’s fight to reclaim the Internet as a platform for legitimate commerce. By finding LimeWire's CEO personally liable, in addition to his company, the court has sent a clear signal to those who think they can devise and profit from a piracy scheme that will escape accountability."
AFACT, which represents dozens of film studios and TV broadcasters, has been embroiled in a legal battle with and iiNet, over alleged copyright infringements on the ISP’s network.
In February, AFACT launched an appeal after the judge overseeing its much-publicised copyright case with iiNet, Justice Cowdroy, dismissed the case, following a five-month investigation that uncovered instances of copyright infringements by users of iiNet’s services.
Justice Cowdroy found the ISP did not authorise the acts of its customers, despite acknowledging copyright infringement.
The appeal will now be heard from 2 to 5 August in front of Justices Emmett, Jagot and Nicholas.
Earlier this month, both parties found out they must wait for the verdict on who will foot the bill for their much-publicised legal stoush following an adjournment in the Federal Court of Australia.
Although AFACT waited until the last possible day to lodge its appeal, legal experts had predicted the development. After the initial Federal Court decision, Melbourne University associate professor, David Brennan, said an appeal was likely and interested parties are "probably looking at 2011 or 2012 before a final judicial determination".
Both parties have suffered considerable financial expense to date in pursing the case and AFACT was ordered to pay iiNet's costs to the tune of $4 million.
In the LimeWire case, the RIAA is expected to now seek damages that could total in the tens of the millions.
Read the judge's full ruling. LimeWire did not respond to requests for comment by time of publication.