Australian Court Case Speech

Roadshow Films vs iiNet
The introduction to the internet has greatly revolutionized how people transfer data freely. This major component in the information age has allowed for easy communication, research and the most useful, data transfer, in particular, downloading. The main problem coming across from downloading is when users download pirated materials by the use of torrents and this often results in disputes between parties who accuse other parties of contributing to copyright infringement. One example of this is from the Australian court case between prosecutors Roadshow Films (aka AFACT – Australian Federation against Copyright Theft along with other movies/television studios) and defendant iiNet (Internet Service Provider). This case was heard in the Federal Court of Australia. This case was brought against iiNet and filed on 20 November 2008. iiNet was accused of allegedly allowing 100,000 illegal film, TV and music downloads through BitTorrent to occur during a 59 week period over their service. This case tested provisions laid out in the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement’s resultant copyright law and thus was important in Australia copyright law and a precedent was set for future lawsuits that concerned the responsibility of Australia internet service providers with regards to copyright infringement. AFACT claimed that iiNet had ignored requests from the companies to discipline its customers for breaking copyright laws. Michael Malone (iiNet managing director) claimed that “iiNet cannot disconnect a customer’s phone line based on an allegation and that the alleged offence needs to be pursued by police and proved in courts. iiNet would then be able to disconnect the service as the customer breached the Customer Relations Agreement.” On a directions hearing on 6 February 2009, AFACT claimed that the three major issues were; whether iiNet authorized the acts of infringement, whether iiNet was liable for the actions of its customers and whether the safe harbor provisions of the Copyright Act 1968 protected iiNet. Tony Bannon represented the plaintiff and begun his argument that iiNet is failing to enforce their own user agreements which states that users are not to download files illegall. He also claimed that "there were 94,942 instances of iiNet customers making available online unauthorised copies" of movies during a 59-week period from 23 June 2008. The plaintiff gathered evidence which utilised the BitTorrent protocol. The parts of this protocol (such as client, tracker and torrent files) have been used by those accessing the internet through iiNet’s facilities to download the applicant’s films and television shows in a manner which infringes copyright. General counsel Richard Cobden represented the defendant iiNet. It was revealed that iiNet received 1,356 notices requesting "takedown" action against customers, from various sources in a one week period in early December 2008. Mr Cobden argued that "Acting on all these notifications is simply unreasonable and burdensome and inappropriate”. He also alleged AFACT’s 94,942 claim was “artificially inflated by a contrived process”. Essentially,

and was dismissed. He found in favour of iiNet and dismissed the case with costs including costs thrown away as a result of the Applicants’ abandoning the primary infringement claim against the Defendant. this was not the responsibility of iiNet to deal with. it was considered acceptable to the court that iiNet did not authorise copyright infringing activities. The Judge of this court case was Justice Dennis Cowdroy and decided the verdict on 4 February 2010. AFACT appealed to the High court. Justice Cowdroy found that iiNet cannot be held responsible for anything done by its users on the BitTorrent network since iiNet does not have control over the network. and the ISP Safe Harbour provisions apply. and while the iiNet users did infringe. He gave his verdict which found in favour of iiNet and claimed that AFACT had misled the court with the number of infringing users. iiNet also was found an anti piracy policy. . The application will go to a special hearing which is expected to be heard in around August or September this year.iiNet claims AFACT counted an alleged copyright infringing file sitting on one computer as part of its total figure each time it searched for the file. although it was not up to standards demanded of AFACT.

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