Internet provider clear of film TV piracy claims in High Court

An internet provider has won a long running court case against a group of film and television companies.

ISP company iiNet has won the High Court appeal case which draws a close to three years of legal wranglings between the company and a group of 34 international and Australian companies including the Seven Network, Warner Bros and Disney.

The group argued that iiNet was allowing customers to download movies and TV shows through their service, infringing on the companies copyright.

The companies had argued that iiNet had the power to prevent its customers from infringing copyright by issuing warnings and suspending or terminating customer accounts.

However, following the decision, Michael Malone iiNet CEO said: “Today’s High Court five-nil ruling confirms that iiNet is not liable for ‘authorising’ the conduct of its customers who engaged in online copyright infringement.”

A statement by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft reads: “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 appeal follows on from the Federal Court hearing in February 2011, in a case that has being going for three years.

In September, Gail Grant CEO of the Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation told Encore following a survey with internet users: “They found the ISPs as enablers of piracy.”

Grant said: “From both 2009 and 2011, 72% of respondents said they would stop if they were told they were in breach of their conditions and 74% would stop if they were suspended. People are looking to ISPs for guidance.”

Malone said: “We have consistently said we are eager to work with the studios to make their very desirable material legitimately available to a waiting customer base – and that offer remains the same today.”

Legal costs for the entire case stand at $9m.


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