High Court rules in favour of iiNet

The High Court has ruled in favour of internet service provider iiNet in a landmark copyright infringement case.

The case began in November 2008 when 34 film and television companies from both Australia and the United States filed an action in the Federal Court of Australia which alleged that the internet service provider had authorised the peer-to-peer file sharing activities of its users.

The court dismissed the appeal today, ruling that iiNet held no responsibility for the copyright infringement carried out by its customers and declaring that the internet service provider had no technical power to prevent customers from using the BitTorrent system.

The extent of iiNet's power, the court ruled, was limited to terminating contractual relationships with customers engaging in file sharing and piracy.

  1. This is singularly pathetic.

    As an indy producer who had their feature film illegally downloaded over 20,000 times in just one month last year, with no recourse that doesnt involve spending heaps of money, nor revenue to be had, it’s abhorrent that nobody is being held accountable, for what is essentially being “an accessory” to an illegal act.

    What hope do indy producers have if the studios can’t make “middlemen accessories” be held accountable in this battle?

    It’s also worth mentioning that AFACT only represents the studios – it does nothing to help independent producers. So there is no-one for us to turn to for assistance in recouping revenue.


  2. @Jessica.
    I’m sorry for your loss, but it is not the ISPs responsibility. It is like making Vicroads accountable for making roads that could allow drivers to speed. They are clearly not responsible for the illegal activities of inviduals.

  3. Wow you just got an audience share of around 60 000. Good luck getting that without file sharing. As a so called ‘Indy Producer’ you should know that it’s not about the money.

    Try funnelling a little of that energy back to where it counts – the work. If it’s good then you’ll get an audience, then you’ll get the money. Just look at YouTube.

  4. Creative artists who release direct to the public from online distribution channels are the only ones who’ll survive. Nothing can stop evolution of content distribution methods, even if you thought Edison cylinders were really nice.

  5. Re VicRoads Analogy – poor analogy.
    The RTA takes “responsibility” for their drivers by installing speed cameras to “catch” illegal drivers, thereby discouraging illegal behaviour. Pubs are not legally allowed to sell alcohol to people who are drunk or underaged, otherwise they get fined. People carrying drugs from one location to another still get done for drug trafficing (irrespective of whether they are users, deals or neither).

    Why shouldn’t ISP’s be made to take responsibility and/or be held accountable for facilitating copyright trafficing as “copyright carriers”?

    Re David, filmmaking is a buisness.
    If you run yours as a hobby, that’s nice, I hope you have lots of money to throw away to sustain your interests, with some left over to survive.

    You might be able to slap together a $50k micro-budget feature, but how many times can you seriously do that ? Once ? Twice ?
    Then what?

    You declare yourself bankrupt and homeless.
    You shack up at mummy and daddy’s house until you’re 30? 40? 50?
    Awesome way to live.

    If investors don’t have a hope of making their money back then they’ll never invest again (which is the way the industry is going), and all that’s left is a bunch of hobbyists sinking their money into a passtime, and the rest of us will never again be able to make a living out of doing what we love.

    I’d don’t know about you David, but I have electricity bills to pay and I like to eat occassionally.

    So no, it’s not “all about the work” – because “work” implies “pay”. Otherwise it’s just a “hobby/passtime” or “volunteering”, not “working”.

    As for the audience – what’s the point of an audience, if they don’t pay ?
    They are not an audience, they are just a bunch of dishonest thieves who are leading us all into financial ruin!
    Why should I give a damn about them?
    They don’t give a damn about my crew or my actors – all of whom have bills to pay and need to eat, too.

    This so-called “audience” are nothing more than thieves, just the same as as pickpockets, handbag snatchers, common house thieves, and other internet scammers.

    re Energy – we would all rather spend our energies on creating films, than having to go out an find alternate incomes to support the financial losses forgone because our films were pirated instead of sold.

    “Indy” doesn’t mean I am a volunteer, it just means I don’t have a regular financial backer (aka studio or govt agency).

    Until “every filmmaker” can have a have some charitable “sugar-daddy investor”, who will pay our day-to-day bills and the film development and production costs as well, then of course it will always be “about the money”.

    Reality check !

    In the UK, France and other EU countries etc ISPs have been made to be held accountable and take responsibility for copyright theft, and must block sites that are enabling illegal downloads.

    Australia needs to get with the program and update it’s copyright laws to accomodate new techologies.

    Jen, I do agree with you that copyright creators do need to be able to release direct to the public, but we also need to establish ways of controlling the release of content, or the ways revenue is recouped on that content’s release.

    I am not saying there isn’t a place for a Bit-Torrent-esque marketing tools.
    I see it being used in the same way as preview screenings etc and a very powerful tool for building market interest (if the product measures up) on a wider platform than cinema release alone.
    However there needs to be a way to lock it down, so that legal and illegal content can be differentiated.


  6. I suggest you all read today’s Hollywood Reporter article.

    Copyright-infringing videos of over 200 films found on world’s largest video-sharing website.

    It talks about the number of Hong Kong feature films that have been uploaded in their entirety to youtube, without the copyright owner’s consent.

    You can’t tell me that Youtube shouldn’t be held accountable in some way for not confirming if the people uploading these films were the copyright owners.


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