Australia’s iiNet decision comes down firmly in favour of ISPs

May 2012


Australia’s High Court -the nation’s highest – has given a clear ruling that internet service providers are not liable for authorising copyright infringement by making their services available to people who do infringe copyright. In case case originally brought by rights group AFACT, the High Court unanimously dismissed the appeal in the case and the Court observed that iiNet had no direct technical power to prevent its customers to infringe copyright in the appellants’ films. Rather, the extent of iiNet’s power to prevent its customers from infringing the appellants’ copyright was limited to an indirect power to terminate its contractual relationship with its customers. Further, the Court held that the information contained in the AFACT notices, as and when they were served, did not provide iiNet with a reasonable basis for sending warning notices to individual customers containing threats to suspend or terminate those customers’ accounts. For these reasons, the Court held that it could not be inferred from iiNet’s inactivity after receiving the AFACT notices that iiNet had authorised any act of infringement of copyright in the appellants’ films by its customers. The unanimous decision distinguished the Kazaa case (where the Kazaa P2P site was successfully pursued under Australian law) because of iiNet lacked direct technical power to prevent its customers from using the BitTorrent system” to infringe copyright.

Roadshow Films Pty Ltd & Others v iiNet Limited [2012] HCA

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