AFACT appeal goes ahead in iiNet case

April 2010


The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft has said it will appeal that previously reported court ruling by Justice Cowdroy regarding the liabilities of internet service providers to police copyright infringement undertaken by their customers via their servers (see Music Law Updates March 2010). AFACT lost the original case against Aussie ISP iiNet where it had been looking to force Australian net firms to become more proactive in stopping illegal file-sharing on their networks. AFACT had been relying on case law including the frequently cited High Court decision in favour of Frank Moorhouse who successfully sued the University of NSW after a student used a photocopier in the institution’s library to copy his book. AFACT also relied on recent cases involving online piracy including the Kazaa copyright trial and Universal Music v Cooper. Justice Cowdroy said that in those cases the respondents were sued successfully because they provided the means of infringement. “There does not appear to be any way to infringe the applicants copyright from mere use of the internet. Rather, the means by which the applicants’ copyright is infringed is an iiNet users’ use of the constituent parts of the BitTorrent system. iiNet has not control over the BitTorrent system and is not responsible for the operation of the BitTorrent system,” Justice Cowdroy said.

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