High Court decision shows Government needs to keep pace with online environment

Press release from AFACT

Today’s decision by the High Court exposes the failure of copyright law to keep pace with the online environment and the need for Government to act, leading film and television industry companies said following the announcement of the decision.

The High Court ruled against leading film and television companies who sued iiNet for failing to take action in response to known infringements by customers using its network.

Representing the film companies, Australian Federation against Copyright Theft (AFACT) Managing Director Neil Gane said the judges in the case had unanimously recognised that legislative change was required to address the widespread copyright infringements via Peer to Peer technology in

“Both judgements in this case recognise that copyright law is no longer equipped to deal with the rate of technological change we have seen since the law of authorisation was last tested. They both point to the need for legislation to protect copyright owners against P2P infringements,” Mr Gane

“The Judges recognise the significant rate of copyright infringement online and point to the fact that over half the usage of iiNet’s internet service by its customers (measured by volume) was represented by Bit Torrent file sharing which was known to be used for infringing activities,” he said

“Now that we have taken this issue to the highest court in the land, it is time for Government to act.

“We are confident the Government would not want copyright infringement to go on unabated across Australian networks especially with the rollout of the NBN,” he said.

Mr Gane also said the decision shows that Australian law has been left behind by overseas developments in online copyright protection.

“In the three years since the case commenced, legislators, regulators and courts around the world have mandated that ISPs must play a central role in preventing online copyright theft,” he said.

“Fortunately, many ISPs have come to the conclusion that being involved in online copyright protection is in their commercial interests.

“ISPs are becoming increasingly dependent on monetising legal content and therefore protecting its

Mr Gane said it was too early to comment on the details of the decision but that he copyright owners would be having discussions with Government in due course.

“We thank the actors’ union (MEAA), and songwriters, composers and publishers (APRA), who also had concerns about the outcome of this case, for taking the time and effort to express them to the court.

“We would also like to acknowledge all content creators whose movies, music, pictures and words we all enjoy and for whom today’s decision must be extremely concerning,” Mr Gane said.