Appeal Against iiNet Copyright Ruling Dismissed

Appeal Against iiNet Copyright Ruling Dismissed

It’s been more than a year since the original result of the trial bought against iiNet by various copyright bodies, which found that iiNet couldn’t be held responsible for the actions of its BitTorrent-loving users. That finding was appealed, but the appeal has failed, with the Federal Court today upholding the original decision.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the line, as a further appeal to the High Court is possible. But it does suggest that copyright holders will need to look to other avenues to fight against online piracy, rather than holding ISPs responsible.


  • A good (and just) decision… Unfortunately, it also means that laws will likely be changed… Thankfully we have a finely balanced parliament at the moment that should iron out most of the dodgy policy that will no doubt be introduced.

    • Heh, if by well balanced, you mean neither major party has enough power to make unpopular laws because no one can stop them – then yeah, its well balanced. Unfortunately, that also means that there’s also more squabbling between various MPs than ever.

  • Less than a 100% win for end users:
    Some things that jumped out at me on first reading

    1) Making available
    The Court seems to have adopted the (crazy) American view of “making available” – That each time you connect to the swarm (say when you close and open Bittorrent, or restart your computer, or your DSL connection drops out), that’s a new instance of infringement.
    Perversely, it would seem that sharing a copyrighted file 24/7/365 (and potentially seeding 100xs of times over) would carry a much lower penalty than (say) downloading the file, uploading for a few minutes, closing BT, re-opening it a few hours later and seeding for another few minutes.
    The Court seems to have gotten lost in the woods technically during this argument, going on about modems and modems sharing files. It’s all a bit odd.
    So moral of the story is: If you’re an infringer, pray your modem isn’t on the fritz and that you have a nice stable connection, or you could be up for $Millions instead of $Thousands in a lawsuit.

    2) Notice and Termination
    This section of the judgement (para 204 onwards) was obviously written by someone else, but it’s equally as confused. After re-reading it would seem that
    If a copyright holder provide iinet with
    i) Details of infringement
    ii) A forensic account of how they identified the infringer
    iii) Reimbursement of whatever costs iinet incur in checking the infringement notice
    iv) Legal indemnity if they disconnect a customer who isn’t an infringer, and the customer sues them
    iinet would be required to implement some kind of “Notify, then Terminate” scheme.

    3) Repeat Infringer Policy/Safe Harbour
    The Court found that iinet’s policy of passing on AFACT complaints to the police was no policy at all, and that if they had been found liable for authorisation, they wouldn’t have been entitled to the “safe harbour” provisions in the Copyright Act – and thus could have been on the hook financially .

    So all in all, not much of a win for consumers, and a big grab for the Copyright holders (as compared to where they thought they stood a year ago)

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