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Australia rules ISPs aren't liable for user infringements

updated 12:30 pm EDT, Fri April 20, 2012

Appeal against iiNet rejected 5-0 in High Court

The High Court of Australia has ruled against an appeal filed by major Hollywood studios in a three year-old copyright infringement case. The studios sued Internet service provider iiNet Ltd. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the case was brought on by 32 members of the Australian Federation against Copyright Theft (AFACT) that include Warner Bros., Disney, Fox, and Paramount Pictures, among smaller, independent distributors and TV networks. The court found that iiNet had no responsibility for copyright infringements perpetuated by its customers and had no technical means of preventing it.

The carrier could only do so by ending contracts with its customers, the five judges unanimously agreed. At the same time, infringement notices sent to iiNet by AFACT didn't provide the ISP with a reasonable basis to send warning, threatening notices to its subscribers.

The High Court judgement found that infringement notices sent by AFACT to iiNet did not provide the ISP "with a reasonable basis for sending warning notices to individual customers containing threats to suspend or terminate those customers."

iiNet went on record to say it doesn't condone or authorize the copyright infringements of its subscribers. Legal costs to date were estimated at about $9 million by iiNet.

iiNet chief executive Michael Malone went on to say increasing the availability of licensed content online is the best and most practical approach to reducing copyright infringement by meeting consumer demand.

The provider, along with AFACT and other ISPs, have been meeting with Australia's attorney general to develop a policy to help fight copyright infringement.

by MacNN Staff



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