Movie giants sue Australian ISP in landmark case

Australia’s third largest ISP, iiNet, faces millions in damages after seven movie houses joined forces to claim it hasn’t done enough to stop its users accessing illegal downloads.

The action, which reached the courts this week, was launched by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, representing Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox and Disney, as well as the Seven television network.

Movie giants sue Australian ISP in landmark case

iiNet has previously refused to disconnect users based on claims of piracy from AFACT, after the studios hired online investigators to intercept BitTorrent traffic and record all instances of iiNet users downloading copyrighted movies illegally. In its defense this week, iiNet claimed that the Copyright Act and Safe Harbour provisions introduced with the US free trade agreement stipulated that ISPs were not liable for copyright infringement by customers.

Justice Dennis Cowdroy said the formal hearing would tentatively begin on October 5 and both sides would have two weeks to present evidence and make their case.