Australia – High Court confirms deep-linking is illegal

July 2007


The High Court of Australia today refused to grant leave to hear an appeal by Stephen Cooper, the operator of the website and his Internet Service Provider who had earlier been found guilty of copyright infringement. Mr Cooper’s website was described in an earlier Federal Court decision as a “carefully structured and highly organised site” which included hyperlinks to facilitate the downloading of infringing copies of recorded music. The High Court rejected Mr Cooper’s application stating that it had insufficient prospects of success to warrant a grant of special leave. The refusal reinforces the decision of the trial judge and Full Federal Court who held that Mr Cooper had authorised copyright infringement. The Full Court had also found that the ISP, E-Talk/ Com-Cen, and its director, Liam Bal – labelled the “controlling mind” – had failed to take reasonable steps to prevent copyright infringement and instead had sought to achieve a “commercial advantage” from advertising on Cooper, E-Talk/ Com-Cen and Bal have been ordered to pay the costs of the record companies for both the original proceedings, the appeal and the special leave application in the High Court.

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