Industry welcomes iiNet win

ISPs and industry groups have applauded the High Court decision but are still weighing up the implications

ISPs and industry groups have welcomed the High Court decision to dismiss the appeal from the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) against iiNet for copyright infringement.

A Telstra spokesperson told Computerworld Australia the telco welcomed the decision but the company was still weighing up the full implications of the “important” decision.

“We do, however, welcome the legal clarity provided by the High Court’s judgement,” the spokesperson said. “Telstra promotes the use of its services in a manner that respects the lawful rights of others (including intellectual property rights like copyright).

“However, we have long been of the view that legal action of this kind is not the most efficient or effective way of achieving this outcome.

“Telstra remains open to constructive discussions with rights holders, the industry, consumer groups and government to seek a response to this issue that appropriately balances the interests of all stakeholders.”

Internode managing director, Simon Hackett, could not comment on the outcome at the time of writing but did tweet after the judgement was handed down that “sanity prevails” in the industry.

Not surprisingly, Pirate Party Australia (PPA) also applauded the decision, reiterating that the ISP is simply the ‘middle man’ in the process.

“We reiterate that ISPs behave similarly to the postal service — they are the carriers of the message, and that message should remain private,” PPA secretary, Brendan Molloy, said in a statement. “It is not their business to police users, but merely to comply where necessary with authorities.

“ISPs are not, and should never be, responsible to anyone other than their subscribers and local law enforcement agencies.”

However, “this is not the end of the issue”, according to Molloy, as there needs to more emphasis on the public’s voice being heard.

“Copyright is not just an issue for rights holders and service providers — the voice of the public must be given priority above all else,” Molloy said in a statement.

The appeal, lodged against the ISP by the 34 film and television companies, led by Roadshow Films, followed the loss of an appeal by the consortium in the Federal Court of Australia on 4 February, 2010.

The case dates back to 2009 when AFACT served notices on iiNet claiming it had authorised users to download pirated material over the internet.

Optus was contacted for comment but had not responded at the time of writing.

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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