iiNet and Other ISPs Put on Notice

The internet service provider (ISP) iiNet, has once again warded off major film studios who were claiming iiNet authorised copyright infringement. However, ISPs should beware, as the courts may not be so accommodating in future.

The Full Federal Court upheld the earlier decision in favour of iiNet but held that ISPs must take responsibility for copyright infringement.

34 major films studios sought to hold iiNet accountable for its customers acts. These customers used the internet provided by iiNet to download movies off Bit Torrent, a peer-to-peer file sharing site. The Australian Federation against Copyright Theft (AFACT) sent various notices to iiNet stating the details of such customers and ways to prevent infringement. iiNet was targeted because it provided customers with a data plan which gave them a high download limit and, therefore, allowed them to download movies illegally.

Bringing proceedings against individuals is time consuming and costly. The iiNet case saw a coalition of film studios coming together to bring an action on the basis that iiNet was responsible for its customers actions.

This case led to the creation of the Internet Code of Practice. Further, where an ISP is allowing copyright infringement, individual complainants may now seek comfort in the power of a collective voice to overthrow flagrant breaches.

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