AFACT v iiNet: Case moves to High Court

Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft moves to appeal unfavourable ruling in Federal Court last month

The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) will lodge an appeal with the High Court as part of its ongoing allegation that Perth-based internet service provider iiNet had allowed its users to infringe on the copyright of the film studios the body represents.

AFACT hopes to overturn a Federal Court appeal ruling last month that iiNet did not authorise the acts of infringement that occurred on its Internet service.

While the Full Federal Court found that iiNet had the power to prevent the infringements of its users from occurring and that there were reasonable steps it could have taken, including issuing warnings, Justices Arthur Robert Emmett and Victor Nicholas both agreed to dismiss the appeal, while Justice Jayne Jagot favoured AFACT’s case overall.

Executive director of AFACT, Neil Gane, said in a statement that it would appeal the decision of Justices Emmett and Nicholas.

“We say they did not apply the legal test for authorisation correctly," he said.

"In response to the Full Court’s conclusion that iiNet did not have sufficient knowledge of the infringements to authorise them, the film companies will argue that iiNet did have sufficient knowledge, that it admitted the acts of infringement and that its CEO admitted on the stand that the evidence was ‘compelling’ we are confident of our grounds for appeal and hopeful that special leave to the High Court will be granted."

In response, iiNet chief executive, Michael Malone, told Computerworld Australia the ISP would defend the ruling in the High Court.

"We do not see litigation as a suitable way forward because it will not help us solve the problem of piracy. Two courts have already agreed now that iiNet did not authorise or encourage customers to infringe copyright. It would be better for the movie industry to come to the table, sit down and come up with a solution," he said.

The appeal comes in the wake of a discussion paper released by iiNet calling for an independent body to assess and police copyright infringement claims.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

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