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Landmark Ruling Gives Australian ISPs Safe Harbor 252

Posted by samzenpus
from the pick-on-someone-your-own-size dept.
omnibit writes "Today, the Federal Court of Australia handed down its ruling in favor of the country's third largest ISP, iiNet. The case was backed by some of the largest media companies, including 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. They accused iiNet of approving piracy by ignoring thousands of infringement notices. Justice Cowdroy said that the 'mere provision of access to internet is not the means to infringement' and 'copyright infringement occurred as result of use of BitTorrent, not the Internet... iiNet has no control over BitTorrent system and [is] not responsible for BitTorrent system.' Many Internet providers had been concerned that an adverse ruling would have forced themselves to police Internet traffic and comply with the demands of copyright owners without any legislative or judicial oversight."
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Landmark Ruling Gives Australian ISPs Safe Harbor

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:34PM (#31017314)

    Suck it long and hard.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Smegly (1607157)

      The case was backed by some of the largest media companies, including 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros.

      Irresponsible behavior (some would say - criminal) and total lack of respect for our internet from these last century media company behemoths really does make it that much easier to justify going out of our way to never ever pay them a penny - on moral grounds. Oh they will still get paid, and paid very well for doing nothing, what with our taxes going right to their pockets [wikipedia.org]. What a convenient business model! However a serious correction in market capitalization is obviously in order for these people - th

  • by DigiJunkie (448588) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:35PM (#31017318)

    Landmark Legal Decision - Law and Common Sense Align

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Wowsers (1151731)

      Don't expect a sudden rash of common sense to be replicated around the world by judges.

      I'm sure there are plenty of judges that will give the "correct" verdict for the media companies for an appropriate "compensation package."

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by poetmatt (793785)

        really? You know, most judges worldwide do tend to read into the decisions made by other countries and cite them, as there are many smart law folks. Whether they disagree or not sure, but simple jurisprudence does exist.

        • by causality (777677)

          really? You know, most judges worldwide do tend to read into the decisions made by other countries and cite them, as there are many smart law folks. Whether they disagree or not sure, but simple jurisprudence does exist.

          In a way, that bothers me. It's not the job of an ISP to censor content or to micromanage its users to appease a business interest (copyright) that is orthogonal to their own. That's the truth whether or not a judge in a foreign country thinks so. Sure, in this case the precedent set was a good and sane one, but next time it might not be.

        • by obeythefist (719316) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @01:02AM (#31019060) Journal

          As a matter of fact, the Australian judge presiding over this case examined safe-harbour provisions and similar cases from US law and he mentions those examinations in the judgement document.

          This is common sense really, as ISP's are a carrier and not liable for the content that passes through their networks.

          Unfortunately what will happen is Conroy, the Minister for Communications, who has already identified himself as being strongly pro-copyright, will now attempt to enact harsh laws to force ISPs to surrender private information to AFACT companies and allow direct attacks on the Australian population. Conroy is the same minister who was voted Internet Villain of the Year last year for his ongoing attempts to enact a hidden, government controlled blacklist censorship system to "protect the children" (although really it just blocks political, anti-abortion and euthanasia websites and a few local Australian businesses thrown in at random).

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        In Australia judicial and policing roles are generally not politically appointments (with some exceptions) and the influence of corporations is very limited.

        In cases like this it is more a case of convincing the government to change the law. Unfortunately this is something AFACT will probably find relatively easy to do with our current Federal government particularly the Senator Conroy as the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy [dbcde.gov.au].

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:00PM (#31017548)

      You can read the decision for yourself here. [austlii.edu.au]

    • by blind monkey 3 (773904) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:25PM (#31018546)
      Sorry but I suspect the endgame is presented in this http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/02/04/2809856.htm [abc.net.au]
      quote:
      Outside court, Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft executive director Neil Gane said he was disappointed with the decision. He said the case was lodged to try to protect the livelihoods of the thousands of Australians who work in the television and film industries. Mr Gane said he was confident that the Federal Government would now review the laws surrounding copyright infringement.

      as the saying goes, who needs judges and courts when you can afford politicians.
  • by SpeedyDX (1014595) <speedyphoenix@gmaiELIOTl.com minus poet> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:35PM (#31017320)

    This case is probably not over yet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MrShaggy (683273)

      Its the supreme court after all. I think that says it all.

      maybe ACTA will be nexT?

      • by Jason Pollock (45537) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:41PM (#31017382) Homepage

        Um, it's Australia, and the Federal Court in Australia.

        Australia doesn't _have_ a Supreme Court, they have a High Court.

        So, no, this probably isn't over yet.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:53PM (#31017482)

          Australia doesn't _have_ a Supreme Court, they have a High Court.

          We have eight (8) Supreme Courts actually. But yes, you are correct this is the first instance case before a single Judge in the Federal Court. Appeal would usually lie to the Full Court (of the FedCrt) and then to the High Court of Australia.

          • AFACT would usually lie to the Full Court (of the FedCrt) and then to the High Court of Australia...
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by throbber (72924)

        There is still the High Court. The Supreme Courts in Australia only have jurisdiction over State matters.

      • by Enter the Shoggoth (1362079) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:58PM (#31017524)

        Its the supreme court after all. I think that says it all.

        maybe ACTA will be nexT?

        Sorry, no it wasn't the supreme court. If you are an non-Australian you will find a more complete explanation here [wikipedia.org]. If on the other hand you are a fellow Aussie and you think that we have a single supreme court I respectfully suggest that you have watched way too many hours of imported American TV shows. Stop it!

        The case was held in the federal court - each state within Australia has it's own court system the highest court within each state is the state's own supreme court. As this seems to have been a case with respect to federal law it was brought before the federal court.

        In any case there is an avenue for appeal. Leave may be sought for the case to be heard by the High Court which has appellate jurisdiction over the federal court and all states supreme court. This is not overly likely however as the high court rarely accepts matters and the majority of its sittings are to determine constitutional matters.

        The next step in this process for AFACT is more likely to lobby the idiots in Canberra for new laws.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      This case is probably not over yet.

      The case is over, the ending is not ambiguous and Australian high courts have little time or patience for going over the same frivolous law suit over and over again. The courts here can simply refuse a civil case, unlike a criminal case.

      AFACT could go to the High Court of Australia and get another case they will be ripped to shreds by a high court judge instead of a federal court judge as none of the evidence has actually changed. Except in this case the high court ma

  • by adamkennedy (121032) <adamk@c[ ].org ['pan' in gap]> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:39PM (#31017356) Homepage

    What I liked about this ruling was just how much they won it.

    The judge said that Safe Harbour provisions did apply to the ISP... but they weren't needed because they only applied if the ISP explicit approved that user activity (which they do not)... and any infringement notices from the studios didn't need to be sent to consumers due to the Privacy Act (iiNet sends all infringement notices to the police instead)... and in any case the sending of infringement notices and subsequent banning etc was not considered a valid copyright prevention mechanism.

    So yeah, they wiped the floor with them.

    • by Incisa (1737082) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:44PM (#31017406)
      The salient quote from the judge - "the law recognises no positive obligation on any person to protect the copyright of another".
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        One supposes he meant "private citizen" when he said "person".

        And if that holds up on appeal, you can bet there will be a scramble to change it.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Capsaicin (412918)

          One supposes he meant "private citizen" when he said "person".

          One is in error. At law a corporation is a 'person.' Indeed the personality of a corporation is a sine qua non of the corporate form (the other being the limited liability of that person). Contrast this with a partnership, which is several persons, or a non-incorporated company, which is a vehicle through with the person(s) who own(s) it operate.

          What you call a "private citizen" is conventionally referred to as a 'natural person.'

      • by halcyon1234 (834388) <halcyon1234@hotmail.com> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @11:08PM (#31018448) Journal

        The salient quote from the judge - "the law recognises no positive obligation on any person to protect the copyright of another".

        It's almost like the judge-- reads? {mindreel}

        "There has grown in the minds of certain groups in this country the idea that just because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with guaranteeing such a profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is supported by neither statute or common law. Neither corporations or individuals have the right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."

        - Heinlein, Life Line, 1939

  • Good news, but (Score:5, Informative)

    by Karsaroth (1064806) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:40PM (#31017358) Journal
    we still have a proposed Internet Filter, no R18+ rating for video games, and a South Australian government that passed a law saying that every person commenting about the election online must provide their real name and postcode. We have a long way to go yet.
    • Re:Good news, but (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Capsaicin (412918) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:44PM (#31017412)

      we still have a proposed Internet Filter, no R18+ rating for video games, and a South Australian government that passed a law saying that every person commenting about the election online must provide their real name and postcode.

      You missed something else we still have. The separation of the administrative/legislative and the judicial arms of government.

      • Re:Good news, but (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Ralish (775196) <ralish@gmai l . com> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:15PM (#31018084)

        You missed something else we still have. The separation of the administrative/legislative and the judicial arms of government.

        The judicial arm is effectively separate, but the separation of the executive (administrative) and legislative arms of government isn't necessarily a good idea; look to America for some solid examples why. Which isn't to say it doesn't have its benefits, but I don't think they outweigh the cons. In particular, I don't think it in anyway increases government accountability, but it certainly does decrease government effectiveness, and an ineffective government is bad no matter where you sit on the political spectrum, as it impedes a government mandated by the people to implement policy from being able to do so.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Arker (91948)

          and an ineffective government is bad no matter where you sit on the political spectrum

          Totally incorrect. For anyone not situated very close indeed to the sitting government on the 'political spectrum' an ineffective government is better than an effective one. The capacity for governments to do good is quite limited, their capacity to do evil is unfortunately not.

    • Re:Good news, but (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:47PM (#31017432)

      Actually, the South Australian law requiring real names and postcodes on all Internet comments about the election has already been overturned.

      So now they can twitter "off to vote today" from their phones without getting RSI.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by StrahdVZ (1027852)

        Actually it has NOT been overturned yet. The South Australian Attorney-General declared that he would scrap the laws AFTER the upcoming election. Now this is assuming that he and his party will still be in power after the election (a big assumption indeed).

        If he isn't then I'll bet my chops that the Conservatives who are then in power will do everything they can to retain the draconian law.

        • Re:Good news, but (Score:5, Insightful)

          by bmo (77928) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:27PM (#31017758)

          What got me was that he basically said the only way to get it scrapped was if he was re-elected.

          That's some brass balls.

          From here in the US, while we've had our problems, it certainly seems like you guys have forgotten the old pledge "We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties."

          --
          BMO

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by dakameleon (1126377)

            it certainly seems like you guys have forgotten the old pledge "We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties."

            That's because that is a pledge associated with the Eureka stockade, and nothing at all to do with the formation of the Australian nation; the majority of those participating in the stockade were not Australian born but rather recent migrants to the country in the hunt for gold. And yes, it's mostly forgotten because it's not a pledge repeated commonly, and indeed if anything has been co-opted by anti-immigration groups, along with the flag and associated symbolism. Not exactly something to be proud of.

          • Re:Good news, but (Score:4, Informative)

            by mjwx (966435) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @01:21AM (#31019134)

            From here in the US, while we've had our problems, it certainly seems like you guys have forgotten the old pledge "We swear by the Southern Cross to stand truly by each other and fight to defend our rights and liberties."

            Because that isn't actually part of our constitution, nor part of the Australian thinking.

            Such uptight Jingoism and "patriotism" is only practised by the racist/xenophobic segments of our society, we try as hard as possible to ignore and marginalise such segments.

            The phrases that are better associated with being Australian are:
            "No worries mate" and "She'll be right"
            which are more indicative of our laid back nature. The most patriotic saying the average Australian is expected to use is "Lest we forget" and this is only ANZAC day.

            But in any case, hopefully this ruling and sudden outbreak of common sense helps the US with it's problems not only with the RIAA/MPIAA but the struggle to maintain network neutrality.

    • Re:Good news, but (Score:5, Informative)

      by bcg (322392) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:59PM (#31017532)
      "SOUTH Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson late last night backed down on online media censorship laws.

      After stoking a fight with the media less than two months from a state election, Mr Atkinson said the laws stripping anonymity from media blogs would be repealed after the March 20 poll.

      "From the feedback we've received through AdelaideNow, the blogging generation believes that the law supported by all MPs and all political parties is unduly restrictive. I have listened," Mr Atkinson said in statement released to the website AdelaideNow.

      "I will immediately after the election move to repeal the law retrospectively."

      Mr Atkinson said the law would not be enforced for comments posted during the upcoming election campaign, even though it was technically applicable."


      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/sa-attorney-general-backs-down-on-political-blogging/story-e6frg6nf-1225826154732 [theaustralian.com.au]
      • by Macgrrl (762836)

        What a pity he doesn't listen about the ratings on games.

        I wonder if that whole listening to the electorate might catch on, maybe he could share this learning experience with Senator Conroy.

    • Re:Good news, but (Score:5, Informative)

      by Madsy (1049678) <mads&mechcore,net> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:38PM (#31017836) Homepage Journal

      we still have a proposed Internet Filter, no R18+ rating for video games, and a South Australian government that passed a law saying that every person commenting about the election online must provide their real name and postcode. We have a long way to go yet.

      And banned A-cup breasts from mainstream pornography. Reason? Think-of-the-children mentality again. http://www.sankakucomplex.com/2010/01/28/australia-bans-small-breasts-as-child-pornography/ [sankakucomplex.com] I found that both amusing and shocking. It's not about children's safety anymore, but pushing moral values and acting as thought-police.

    • "South Australian government that passed a law saying that every person commenting about the election online must provide their real name and postcode"

      Yes they did, and then they were promtly forced to drop it.
      • by Wizarth (785742)

        Possibly because the law didn't say what the Attorney General said it did.

        http://www.efa.org.au/2010/02/02/sa-electoral-amendments-and-anonymity-online/ [efa.org.au]

        From the article:

        It also covers material on ‘radio or television or broadcast on the Internet’. ‘Broadcast’, at least as it is defined in Commonwealth legislation, covers audio or visual transmissions but not text and static images (see s 6, Broadcasting Services Act 1992 (Cth)). So this requirement would cover radio and television stations and probably podcasters as well.

        It is important to note that this legislation does not require each commentator on a website to be named. It requires the publisher of the site (or a responsible person) to be named.

  • by Pushpabon (1351749) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:41PM (#31017362)
    ...common sense? But it's Austfailia! This can't be true! Somehow they'll find a way to overturn this I know it.
  • This is really a great step in the right direction for Australia! Time to break out the suddenoutbreakofcommonsense tag!

  • sigh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by wizardforce (1005805) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:43PM (#31017402) Journal

    "copyright infringement occurred as result of use of BitTorrent, not the Internet...iiNet has no control over BitTorrent system and [is] not responsible for BitTorrent system."

    The important part is what isn't said. The ruling didn't say that there was no obligation to police a certain part of the net for copyright violations, just that the ISP wasn't responsible for BitTorrent and thus wasn't obligated to police that part of the net.

    • Re:sigh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mabinogi (74033) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:50PM (#31017460) Homepage

      The important part is what isn't said. The ruling didn't say that there was no obligation to police a certain part of the net for copyright violations, just that the ISP wasn't responsible for BitTorrent and thus wasn't obligated to police that part of the net.

      so, "the law recognises no positive obligation on any person to protect the copyright of another" doesn't meet your definition of that?

      • sigh... right you are. I suppose that given Australia's history with copyright law I really expected something sinister somewhere.

      • "the law recognises no positive obligation on any person to protect the copyright of another"

        Curious, then, the amount of activity that the Australian Customs Service and police services puts into detecting "illegal" movies on behalf of private entities claiming to be copyright holders. Effort also goes into the related area of protecting trademarks for private entities (e.g. Louis Vuiton) from "counterfeit" goods at public expense. Clearly law enforcement officers are not "any person", which might come as a shock to some of them.

  • by Swampash (1131503) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @08:56PM (#31017516)

    Speaking on behalf of the Australian and US film companies that launched the action, Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft executive director, Neil Gane, said he was disappointed by the Court's decision.

    "Today's decision is a setback for the 50,000 Australians employed in the film industry," he said.

    "But we believe this decision was based on a technical finding centred on the court's interpretation of the how infringements occur and the ISPs ability to control them.

    "We are confident that the government does not intend a policy outcome where rampant copyright infringement is allowed to continue unaddressed and unabated via the iiNet network.

    "We will now take the time to review the decision before making further comment on next steps," he said.

    Translation:

    1. Dey tuk er jeb! Won't someone think of the jeb?

    2. Never should have allowed testimony about how the Internet works.

    3. OK, fuck the courts, we'll just buy a few politicians. We'll tell 'em it's about protecting Australian jobs and about protecting de widdle chiwdwen.

    4. Need to work out which politicians to buy.

    • 4. Need to work out which politicians to buy.

      That's easy. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is already sympathetic [zdnet.com.au] to their cause and should be available for a bargain price.

      • That's what I'm most worried about coming into the next Federal Election.

        He can tack a 1/2 baked policy somewhere into his list of election promises and targets like he did with the Content Filtering, which became mandatory after he won the election. It wouldn't surprise me if we see Copyright protections included into the Filtering legislation to force ISP's to work for free for big media.

        Conroy has proved time and time again he has no idea what the internet actually is, or does and supports stronger enfor

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by MichaelSmith (789609)

          No. Conroy is a tool. Getting rid of him won't change the underlying problem.

        • "It's an election promise! Therefore, normal rules of legislative diligence do not apply!"

          Unfortunately Stephen Conroy is at the top of the senate ticket in Victoria and even a targeted campaign has practically no chance of unseating him.

    • 1. Dey tuk er jeb! Won't someone think of the jeb?

      Where the hell do you think this is from, New Zealand?

  • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:05PM (#31017582) Homepage

    Thirty-four film companies representing the Australian and US film industries today expressed their disappointment that the Federal Court found that iiNet was not using orbital mind control lasers [newstechnica.com] to encourage copyright infringements by its customers on its network.

    Despite findings of copyright infringement by iiNet customers, pirate flags in their front yards and downloaded cars in their driveways, iiNet did not authorise the acts of its customers, merely sitting back and watching the tens of dollars rolling in to feather their own nests at the expense of the poor beleaguered major record companies and film studios.

    Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft executive director, Neil Gane, said he was disappointed by the Court’s decision. "Today’s decision is a setback for the 50,000 Australians employed in the film industry, who work hard to send money to America as fast as possible. But we believe there's something not quoite roight about this ruling — it was based on a mere technical loophole centred on the court's interpretation of what the law technically says in actual words and original intention, rather than what it should say.

    "We are confident that the government does not intend a policy outcome where zombie hordes of drooling open source copyright terrorists led by the evil genius Michael Malone are allowed to continue feasting upon the flesh of the living via the iiNet network.

    "We will now take the time to review the decision before seeing if we can bribe enough federal politicians to get a law more to our liking."

    • "Today's decision is a setback for the 50,000 Australians employed in the film industry,"

      Seeing as our film industry is pretty small + vast majority of piracy is for overseas content (the local content is mostly live TV stuff - sports, news, fluff reality and cooking shows etc. that nobody pirates, you just watch it if its on etc. and if you pirate neighbours then god bless your simple mind) that statement is kinda like sweatshop workers protesting that fake designer gear is depriving them of their 2 bucks a day.

      As for iinet, good on them, they're a good isp, shame about the inevitable appeal.

  • by angry tapir (1463043) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:06PM (#31017596) Homepage
    Here's a timeline of the case. [goodgearguide.com.au] Also the full ruling [austlii.edu.au] has been posted online.
  • Favourite quote: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fabs64 (657132) <beaufabry+slashdot,org&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:09PM (#31017616)

    "the law recognises no positive obligation on any person to protect the copyright of another," - Justice Cowdroy

    Ah, reasonable, rational, and direct. Love it.

  • by spudda (1201863) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:25PM (#31017748)
    The Issue was decided by a single judge, which means the likelihood of appeal to the full bench of the Federal court and the high court after that is 100%. I think this is a good day for Australian ISPs. And despite the whinging from AFACT it does not protect pirates since the copyright holders have had the mechanism of going to the court for a court order to name an ISP subscriber for years. They just elected not to use it and tried to bully subscribers with infringement notices. And any ISP that didnt pass on these notices were run over the coals by AFACT as this case has demonstrated. But what this case demonstrates is that AFACT is not above the law. However I can see the Government tightening the legislation at the end of this case making any decision by the high court moot when it gets reversed by the incompetent Conroy and his band of merry men
    • by Macgrrl (762836)

      Ironically we received an infringement notice last night from our !iiNet ISP. We are still trying to establish what if any concrete penalties might apply beyond a TOS transgresion and the ISP having the right to refuse our business.

      While I support the outcome from this court case, realistically the ISP are in someway complicit in the downloading of copyrighted materials - what else do they think we are doing with those 60+Gb data plans they offer?

      • by sowth (748135) *

        what else do they think we are doing with those 60+Gb data plans they offer?

        Speaking with your grandma on a hi-def video stream? Playing fast-paced, bandwidth wasting games? Controlling a robot on the other side of the planet? Downloading astronomical charts? Telecommuting? Downloading software updates? Using facebook? Facebook probably hits your quota right there. Do they have to care?

        I would also like to point out there are plenty of sources to indicate the majority of infringement notices are incorrect

  • by tdelaney (458893) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @09:46PM (#31017880)

    And additional important ruling (taken from the summary):

    10. The first step in making a finding of authorisation was to determine whether certain iiNet users infringed copyright. I have found that they have. However, in reaching that finding, I have found that the number of infringements that have occurred are significantly fewer than the number alleged by the applicants. This follows from my finding that, on the evidence and on a proper interpretation of the law, a person makes each film available online only once through the BitTorrent system and electronically transmits each film only once through that system. This excludes the possible case of a person who might repeatedly download the same file, but no evidence was presented of such unusual and unlikely circumstance. Further, I have found, on the evidence before me, that the iiNet users have made one copy of each film and have not made further copies onto physical media such as DVDs.

    This appears to be saying that when someone torrents, they only infringe copyright once. Which would make it economically unviable to go after people for casual copyright infringement via the internet, since damages would be severly limited.

    • by yuna49 (905461)

      This follows from my finding that, on the evidence and on a proper interpretation of the law, a person makes each film available online only once through the BitTorrent system and electronically transmits each film only once through that system.

      This is a very strange argument. If I torrent a movie and let it seed indefinitely, I will almost certainly have distributed more than one copy of the film. Did the justice really believe that torrenting is a one-for-one kind of activity where a downloaded work is

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by rswail (410017)

        "letting it seed" isn't transmitting it ("making available") or copying it. It's made available once (seeded), and then each individual downloading is infringing. This means that even if they do manage to prosecute an individual, it will be for one copy made (if they catch them downloading), and one making available (if they catch them seeding).

        That severely limits the potential liability, makes it a civil offence, not a criminal one and probably not worth the studio's time.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        This is a very strange argument. If I torrent a movie and let it seed indefinitely, I will almost certainly have distributed more than one copy of the film. Did the justice really believe that torrenting is a one-for-one kind of activity where a downloaded work is uploaded once and only once? I haven't read the decision, but I wonder how much of it concerned downloading versus uploading.

        Actually, the judge is correct. Some people seed more, some people seed less, but on average the number of uploads for each bittorent participant is equal to 1.

        The reason is, for any given file distributed through bittorrent, the average number of uploads or downloads per person is each equal to the total number of uploads or downloads, divided by the number of persons participating. Since each kilobyte downloaded is uploaded by someone else, the total number of uploads and downloads are equal. So the avera

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Dr Damage I (692789)

        In order to understand this portion of the ruling, one must assume that the judge is not referring to persons making the file available, but to persons downloading the file. Which makes sense, because otherwise you end up double counting many times over: Once you start counting uploads, you multiply the total number of violations without increasing the number of copies being made.

        Suppose you have 1 file, 10 persons making copies and one person seeding the file (A highly simplified example for the sake of

        • a person makes each film available online only once through the BitTorrent system and electronically transmits each film only once through that system

          Copyright refers to the right to make copies. Downloading doesn't make a copy it merely saves it, the copy is made by the uploader. And assuming you are running a bittorrent client with a seed ratio of 100% (or at least, less than 200%), then you only upload one whole copy (in many small pieces to many other people). Even seeding the initial copy can be done with a ratio only slightly higher than 100%.

          I believe the judges ruling is perfectly consistent with the implementation of the bittorrent protocol.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by shadowbearer (554144)

          What does it matter? There is no possible way that all the uploaders or downloaders can be prosecuted in the court systems, even globally; and as the internet continues to expand, the "problem" is only going to get more complicated (worse, from the copyright holders perspectives)

          Even assuming the courts don't have better things to do... sooner or later, the courts are going to have to acknowledge that it's an unsolvable problem.

          From a technical standpoint, this issue was done and ove

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Kjella (173770)

            What does it matter? There is no possible way that all the uploaders or downloaders can be prosecuted in the court systems, even globally; and as the internet continues to expand, the "problem" is only going to get more complicated (worse, from the copyright holders perspectives)

            Because they will try very hard to make unreasonable allegations against each person, and unreasonable damages for each alleged infringement. Giving people 100,000$ in a speeding ticket because they don't catch 99% of those speeding wouldn't be justice, it'd be law enforcement by terror. The copyright industry is dying the death of a thousand needles, and would like each needle to count as murder.

    • by masher_oz (1145983) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:16PM (#31018092)
      So it looks like merely making a file available isn't an infringement. This is congruent with the finding that

      20. The law recognises no positive obligation on any person to protect the copyright of another. The law only recognises a prohibition on the doing of copyright acts without the licence of the copyright owner or exclusive licensee, or the authorisation of those acts. In the circumstances outlined above and discussed in greater detail in my judgment, it is impossible to conclude that iiNet has authorised copyright infringement.

      Just because you're able to copy my file doesn't make me responsible.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by wvmarle (1070040)

        In my opinion, making available is close to publishing. It is surely debatable whether "making available" is copyright infringement. I think the consensus here is that "publishing" a work that you have no copyright (license) of is copyright infringement. Then the question is how would "making available" differ from "publishing", and how would this clear one from infringement?

        If I were to take a book (which is under copyright, and not mine) and make a dozen copies of that. As long as I keep those in my hous

  • 'The law recognises no positive obligation on any person to protect the copyright of another.
    The law only recognises a prohibition on the doing of copyright acts without the licence of the copyright owner or exclusive licensee, or the authorisation of those acts."
    From http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCA/2010/24.html [austlii.edu.au]
    Roadshow Films Pty Ltd v iiNet Limited (includes summary) (No. 3) [2010] FCA 24 (4 February 2010)
  • by tick-tock-atona (1145909) on Wednesday February 03, 2010 @10:40PM (#31018260)

    To use the rather colourful imagery that internet piracy conjures up in a highly imperfect analogy, the file being shared in the swarm is the treasure, the BitTorrent client is the ship, the .torrent file is the treasure map, The Pirate Bay provides treasure maps free of charge and the tracker is the wise old man that needs to be consulted to understand the treasure map.

    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/cth/FCA/2010/24.html [austlii.edu.au]

  • http://www.itwire.com/telecommunications-news/networks/36473-spooks-get-broader-powers-to-bug-internet [itwire.com]
    [Australian] Spooks get broader powers to bug internet"
    Isp's can watch and report on traffic, gov agencies can make copies of your isp usage logs.
    Bt would make an isp look, then its just finding out what you looking at.
  • by knarf (34928) on Thursday February 04, 2010 @08:42AM (#31021032) Homepage

    ...a deaf judge seems to have presided over a case against Men at Work [wikipedia.org] in which it is claimed that their song 'Down Under' plagiarizes a song from 1935 named 'Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree'. I listened to that song. It is nothing at all like the flute riff in 'Down Under'. Still... They [thecmuwebsite.com] Won [smh.com.au]. What do you think? [youtube.com]

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