Dallas Buyers Club and ISPs wrangle over costs

Dallas Buyers Club owners want ISP customer details by 6 May

Dallas Buyers Club LLC and a group of ISPs, including iiNet and a number of its subsidiaries, were this morning back in court as the judge presiding over the legal wrangle prepares to make orders on costs.

Justice Perram said in a ruling handed down earlier this month he intended to make orders that would compel Dallas Buyers Club LLC to pay the legal costs incurred by ISPs and the cost of producing the information sought by DBC LLC.

DBC LLC is seeking the details of ISP customers whose connections it believes were used to illicitly download copies of Dallas Buyers Club via BitTorrent. There are 4726 IP addresses DBC LLC is seeking details on.

Before the parties appeared in court, iiNet had said that it was concerned about the potential for speculative invoicing; a practice whereby rights holders — including, the ISP alleged, DBC LLC’s parent Voltage Pictures — send letters to ISP customers demanding thousands of dollars in damages in return for granting them indemnity from legal action over their alleged copyright infringement.

The ISPs opposed DBC’s application for preliminary discovery on a number of grounds, but Justice Perram earlier this month ruled that the ISPs would have to hand over customer details, subject to certain conditions.

Chief among those conditions is that the judge would have oversight of any letter DBC LLC intended to send.

Counsel for DBC LLC, Ian Pike, today told the court that in opposing his client’s application the ISPs had gone beyond just fulfilling their obligations to maintain customer privacy and fought the motion on “virtually every single basis that can be conceived”.

The ISPs’ arguments had for the most part been rejected by the court and therefore they should foot the bill for proceedings, he argued, including the cost of flying out an employee of MaverickEye.

MaverickEye is a company based in Germany whose software was used to generate the list of IP addresses at the heart of the legal stoush.

DBC LLC is seeking to have details of ISP customers handed over by 6 May. The company has yet to present the court with a draft of the letter it intends to send.

Counsel representing the ISPs, Richard Lancaster, said the ISPs were seeking security of $275,000 before handing over customer details to DBC LLC.

Justice Perram said he intended to make orders next week.

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