Dallas Buyers Club LLC has questioned an estimate produced by ISPs of how much it could cost to gather the details of customers linked to a collection of IP addresses. Lawyers representing DBC LLC today also hinted at casting a wider net to catch pirates, potentially opening up other ISPs' customers to court action.
DBC LLC is seeking the personal details of a number of customers of iiNet, along with customers of Dodo, Wideband Networks, Amnet and iiNet's wholly owned subsidiaries Adam Internet and Internode.
The customers are those linked to IP addresses which DBC LLC argues may have engaged in illicit downloads of the movie Dallas Buyers Club over BitTorrent.
DBC LLC is seeking details on more than 4700 IP addresses, which were gathered using 'Maverick Eye' software operated by a third party contracted by DBC LLC.
Lawyers representing the two sides today returned to the Federal Court of Australia in Sydney.
Counsel for DBC LLC, Ian Pike SC, said his client was concerned over the security of $108,000 sought by lawyers representing the ISP.
Pike said that iiNet was estimating it would take the ISP on average around 30 minutes per IP address to obtain customer details.
Justice Perram in April rejected ISP arguments against a motion for preliminary discovery, but ruled that he would oversee the drafting of any letter sent to ISP customers.
He has also ruled that the ISPs will have to foot the bill of the legal proceedings so far.
Pike said that in response to the ISPs' submission for security of $108,000 his clients wished to seek technical details of the databases and other computer systems involved in collating the details of ISP customers.
Perram said today that retrieving customer details seemed like a "relatively modest technological task".
However Richard Lancaster SC, representing the ISPs, said that ISPs' systems "aren't built with a red button" to produce the details needed to comply with preliminary discovery.
"The amount sought [for security by ISPs] is not extravagant," he argued.
The process in some cases involves manual intervention by ISP employees because the details are spread across a number of systems.
Pike said that DBC LLC was concerned about the precedent that would be set if security is set so high - particularly because the court has been dealing with just "the first 4000 IP addresses of what could be a substantial number of IP addresses".
The parties return to court on 18 June to deal with the issue of security. That hearing will also deal with the undertaking by DBC LLC to abide by the court's ruling on the form of the letter.
Perram directed DBC LLC to provide the ISPs by 4 June with written submissions on the form of the letter to be sent to ISP customers. The ISPs will have until 15 June to respond.