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Australia Piracy The Courts Your Rights Online

Aussie Film Industry Appeals ISP Copyright Case 137

schliz writes "The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) has appealed a Federal Court judgement that this month exonerated ISP iiNet for its subscribers' copyright-infringing activities. In the widely publicised case, AFACT sought to penalize iiNet for its users having made 100k illegal downloads. A judge ruled that 'mere provision of access to internet is not the means to infringement,' but AFACT now claims the judgement 'left an unworkable online environment for content creators and content providers' and 'represents a serious threat to Australia's digital economy.'"
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Aussie Film Industry Appeals ISP Copyright Case

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  • by GrpA ( 691294 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @05:41AM (#31269992)

    Indeed, the cynical amongst us might think that they planned to lose the case to iiNet just so that they could make this very appeal...


  • by Bearhouse ( 1034238 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @05:48AM (#31270022)

    At least in Australia. Well worth reading the last link, (,analysis-five-ways-afact-lost-the-iinet-case.aspx.).

  • by Joakal ( 1317443 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @05:56AM (#31270070)
    This website ShockSeat [] cuts through the bull of each party to what they really support. I hope to show bi-partisan responses to issues that people may not otherwise know such as Internet Filtering Scheme [].

    If you wish to contribute, I need people to demand the parties [] to come clear on issues in the survey I have given them. So far, only 1 of 26 parties have answered [] and even then, I'm adding all the listed issues.

    If anything, I hope it's a great guide to interested voters who are concerned about certain issues and don't want to wade through the sales pitch.
  • Re:Unclear point (Score:5, Informative)

    by deniable ( 76198 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @06:30AM (#31270254)
    They were asked by an industry group to police piracy. They told them it was a job for the Police and happily forwarded the complaints to the cops, who turned around and said something like 'why don't we go after rapists and murderers first.' The industry group then got its knickers in a twist and sued them.
  • by dadjaka ( 827325 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @07:01AM (#31270382)
    Disclaimer: While I am an Australian law student, I've only read the summary of the decision, (c'mon, it's 200 pages), nor have I studied IP Law.

    However, I do have a year of Law school behind me, so:

      - Australian law makes a distinction between findings of fact (i.e. John stabbed Mary) and findings of law (i.e. law x says stabbing is illegal). Findings of law can be appealed (you can argue the judge misinterpreted the law), but it's *much* harder to appeal a finding of fact. AIUI, there aren't many findings of fact in this case: the Justice found that Malone was a credible witness as a matter of fact, but the rulings on which the case was founded (i.e. that BitTorrent is the means of infringement, as opposed to the internet) are all findings of law.
      * tl;dr => Most of the ruling could be overturned on appeal.

      - The case was decided by a single judge of the Federal Court. That means that, IIRC, it will be appealed to the full court of the Federal Court (3+ judges). From that, it could be appealed to the High Court. (The highest court in Australia; equivalent to the Supreme Court in the US)
      * tl;dr => The appeal may not be the last, there could be another.

      - I'm not going to venture an opinion on the outcome of the appeal; I don't know enough. I also haven't been able to find AFACT's grounds of appeal; if I can I might be able to shed some more light on the possible success.
      * tl;dr => Who knows what will happen?

      - Ultimately, AFACT and their lobbyists will likely convince the politicians to change the law, whatever the outcome. This will probably suck - Aussie Communications Ministers traditionally do an average to poor job regardless of political persuasion. (examples include: mandatory filtering, "World's Greatest Luddite")
      * tl;dr => What ever happens, we're probably screwed because of politics.
  • by papafox_too ( 883077 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @09:36AM (#31271252)

    The so-called Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) is actually an not Australian at all. It is controlled by the Singapore office of the MPAA and funded from Los Angeles. AFACT has no formal or informal mechanism to allow interested Australian's to join.

    To quote Justice Cowdroy from Roadshow Films v iiNet []:

    "AFACT is an organisation set up for the purposes of benefiting its members. The exact nature of the relationship between the applicants and AFACT is not clear. Mr Gane, the Executive Director of AFACT, suggested that there was no formal membership process by which one can become a member of AFACT, whether by application or agreement. The Motion Picture Association (‘MPA’) and the Motion Picture Association of America (‘MPAA’) have a membership of the major American film studios. They are not associated with AFACT by any formal written agreement. However, AFACT does report to the regional branch office of the MPA which is based in Singapore. In respect of operations in the Asian region, the Singapore office of the MPA prepares a business plan or budget for AFACT which is approved by the Los Angeles head office of the MPA. [...] [I]t must be remembered that the applicants were not the entities making the allegations of copyright infringement in the lead up to these proceedings: rather, AFACT was doing so. [T]he exact relationship between AFACT and the actual copyright owners (the applicants) is, at best, unclear."

  • by tlambert ( 566799 ) on Thursday February 25, 2010 @03:41PM (#31276420)

    They should change the law so that at least one business plan works for an in demand product.

    I believe that working business plan is called "sell DVDs".

    Their main complaint is that they want access to a new distribution channel without risk. This is the same thing that the credit card companies wanted when they successfully lobbied to change the U.S. bankruptcy laws to turn all the uncollateralized debt they had outstanding into collateralized debt. They could instead have refrained from offering credit cards to unemployed college students and other sub-prime credit risks, but instead they had the laws changed, and that led directly to the current credit crisis, which has impacted the world economy.

    Well, to heck with them; if they can't live with the facts of the current situation on line, they obviously can take their ball and go play elsewhere. This will leave a market opportunity for people to come in and displace them as content providers, but no one every guaranteed them that they wouldn't be commoditized at some point if they enetered that distribution channel (how different -- really -- is reality TV from some of the stuff people are posting on YouTube for free?).

    -- Terry

Each new user of a new system uncovers a new class of bugs. -- Kernighan