Innovation

iiNet wins landmark copyright case against AFACT

Jaclyn Densley /

iiNet has won a case in the High Court brought against it by a group of entertainment and media corporations alleging it was responsible for its customers downloading copyrighted material.

iiNet managing director Michael Malone tweeted his victory this morning, saying “iiTrial appeal dismissed!”

iiNet had been in a trading halt ahead of the decision.

The decision means the court believes iiNet did not authorise the downloading of copyrighted material by its users.

The case, one which has massive ramifications for ISPs worldwide, has been heard in Australian courts for the past few years. A collection of movie and television studios, named the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, sued iiNet, alleging it was responsible for the copyrighted material downloaded illegally by its users.

In the original case, the Federal Court ruled in iiNet’s favour saying the company was not responsible for the actions of its users.

An appeal was launched to the full bench of the Federal Court. The telco won again, although AFACT pointed out a dissenting judgement that backed a number of AFACT’s arguments.

Justice Emmett, who found that iiNet was not responsible, said he was not satisfied by the company’s “contumelious” demeanour.

“While the evidence supports a conclusion that iiNet demonstrated a dismissive and indeed contumelious attitude to the complaints of infringement by the use of its services its conduct did not amount to authorisation of the primary acts of infringement on the part of iiNet users,” he said.

The dissenting judgement formed a large basis for AFACT’s appeal to the High Court.

The impact of the case has rippled through the media and entertainment industries, sparking debate over delays for international media content reaching Australian shores, and the viability of media being sold through digital distribution.

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