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The Australian film and television industry has deliberately targeted Perth based ISP iiNet in a Federal Court action aimed at stopping the alleged illegal transfer of pirated movies and TV shows.

 The legal action which was initiated by the Seven Network, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox and  Disney.

Missing from the action is free to air TV networks Nine, Ten and the ABC.

In a statement issued late today the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft said, “Seven leading film companies and their affiliates and licensees filed a legal action against iiNet. The companies seek a ruling that iiNet infringed copyright by failing to take reasonable steps, including enforcing its own terms and conditions, to prevent known unauthorised use of copies of the companies’ films and TV programs by iiNet’s customers via its network.”

Adrianne Pecotic the Executive Director of AFACT said, “Today’s action by AFACT’s members was necessary because the ISP ignored repeated notices over many months identifying thousands of illegal file transfers via iiNet’s network carried out by its customers.

“iiNet refused to address this illegal behaviour and did nothing to prevent the continuation of the infringements by the same customers,” said Ms Pecotic. “iiNet has an obligation under the law to take steps to prevent further known copyright infringement via its network.”

 

“Our members have asked the court to order the ISP to act to prevent the continuing unauthorised use of copies of our titles by its customers, consistent with iiNet’s own terms and conditions which prohibit illegal activity on its network,” she said.

Roadshow Entertainment Managing Director Chris Chard added: “Our titles including Happy Feet, No Reservation and I am Legend have been pirated by iiNet’s customers via its network using bit torrent technology.”

“Piracy impacts our film production business, but also our cinemas, DVD business, and our studios. Ultimately piracy results in lost jobs, and limits investment in new programs and films, as well as in new technologies which benefit consumers. This will only worsen as broadband speeds increase if we do not take action now,” Mr Chard said.

The action was filed in the Federal Court of Australia today. The proceedings will be back before the Court on 17 December 2008.

Mark White, iiNet’s chief operating officer, said the company did not support piracy in any form but it could not disconnect customers just because the movie industry claimed they engaged in illegal downloading”.

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