iiNet Copyright Case Hears About Unreasonable Costs & Impossible Tasks

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A decision in the iiNet copyright case is now not expected till early 2012 after Chief Justice Robert French reserved the High Court’s ruling late last week.

When leading ISP iiNet allows a customer to keep sharing a copyright-protected film through BitTorrent, the ISP in effect is “authorising” that infringement, the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) has argued in the High Court. AFACT counsel Tony Bannon made the claim on Friday in a High Court hearing of AFACT’s appeal against a ruling in iiNet’s favour made earlier t6his year by the Federal Court.

But iiNet lawyers told the court that acting on infringement notices would incur a cost for the ISP that would be unreasonable for it to bear alone.

Bannon argued that it would be in iiNet’s “commercial interest” to get customers to stop using BitTorrent because it used so much bandwidth.

“The pursuit of steps to rid their system of infringers would produce on the basis of that argument a net economic benefit,” he said. “That is one factor which would have had to have been weighed into the equation if anyone had stepped into the witness box to address this issue.”

IiNet counsel Richard Cobden argued that the ISP would need to monitor its customers’ Internet activities in order to prevent copyright infringement, and this was not possible due to the privacy provisions in the Telecommunications Act.

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