A four-day battle has begun in the Federal Court as 34 leading movie studios yesterday launched an appeal against February’s court decision that ISP iiNet had not authorised repeated copyright breaches by its customers – many of whom used iiNet to access pirated movies via BitTorrent peer-to-peer services.
The studios, banded together as the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), are arguing that Justice Dennis Cowdroy failed to identify or apply the correct test for authorisation under Australian copyright law when he found that iiNet was not liable.
AFACT’s lead barrister David Catterns, opening the appeal yesterday, claimed that iiNet was given details of infringing customers every week for 59 weeks. “There is no doubt there were infringements drawn to their attention,” Catterns said.
He said iiNet could have prevented the infringements by warning, suspending or disconnecting the infringing customers, but did not act, even when requested by AFACT.
AFACT expects to wrap up its arguments today. The iiNet legal team will then make their arguments, and later a number of “friends of the court”, including the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (journalists and actors’ union), and the Australasian Performing Rights Association will have their turn.
Recently iiNet started delivering Hollywood movies via a deal with Fetch TV who claim to have signed up most of the Hollywood movie studio’s.
The Fetch service is delivered via a set top box.