iiNet turns spotlight back on AFACT investigators

Claims investigator’s actions during their research did not accurately demonstrate the actions of iiNet users

Attempts by AFACT investigators to incriminate iiNet of copyright infringement do not accurately reflect consumers and are therefore flawed, the ISP’s barrister, Richard Cobden SC, claimed in his closing address.

Two Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) employees conducted an investigation into iiNet’s broadband network through BitTorrent and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) clients over a 59-week period. Anti-piracy solutions provider, DtecNet, was hired to research and record instances of iiNet users making unsolicited online copies of films. The shows available for downloading were also recorded.

During iiNet’s closing statement on day 20 of the trial, Cobden insinuated, from evidence gathered during cross-examinations of DtecNet and movie studio representatives, that iiNet was unfairly targeted by AFACT. He referred back to DtecNet CTO, Kristian Lokkegaard’s admission it used an IP filter to ensure AFACT investigators only downloaded from iiNet’s IP address range.

“[This is] foolish as the evidence from [one of the investigators] showed, it slowed the download times [to several days]… and that is not something ordinary BitTorrent users [would do],” Cobden said.

The barrister claimed both investigators committed primary acts of infringement and were the only parties proven to have made hard copies of downloaded material as well as distributing it. Prior to the Federal Court case, AFACT’s investigators sent DVDs of their files to iiNet in a bid to demonstrate movie piracy by the ISP’s users.

Cobden also claimed communication between investigators and iiNet users was on a one-on-one private basis and lacked the commercial character to make it a primary copyright infringement.

iiNet has always maintained the act of infringement rests on the individual who requests the transmission (the receiver) of copyright material, not the individual that makes it available. AFACT is representing a host of Hollywood film studios suing iiNet for ‘authorising’ copyright contravention by its users by turning a blind eye to their illegal downloads on BitTorrent. The case is due to continue on to next week. For a detailed timeline of the trial, click here.

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