AFACT has supplied iiNet internal emails to the court in a bid to demonstrate the ISP’s indifference to copyright infringements and its attempt to call in “a personal favour” from the WA Police. In response, iiNet dismissed the relevance of these emails to the case.
In day two of the trial, barrister for the 34 film studios and Seven Network being represented by AFACT, Tony Bannon, produced emails allegedly sent between iiNet personnel and Westnet staff. The latter company was acquired by iiNet last year.
In those emails, iiNet CEO, Michael Malone, allegedly chastised Westnet on its policy of forwarding AFACT infringement notices to relevant customers. This could apparently be done via an automated in-house program which determined IP addresses.
“Westnet’s position on the AFACT notices is the opposite of iiNet’s, and pretty much unique in the industry. I think you are making more work for no benefit by passing the notices on to customers,” Malone said in one email. “Why not stop doing this and just refer AFACT to the police?”
He continued in another email to Westnet: “Your current approach is doing damage to the industry and iiNet’s position on this matter. Can you change it? If not, why not”?
Referring to continual AFACT infringement notifications, an email by iiNet credit manager, Leroy Parkinson, said: “These guys just 'don’t get it'. We are not obliged to do squat on their allegation. iiNet will reply accordingly.”
Bannon also pointed to an email detailing how iiNet failed to notice an email address, made specifically to receive copyright concerns, did not exist on the system and the company might have been “missing crap emails about copyright” for some time.
“With regards to the fact they lost the copyright officer email, it just goes to show the flagrant disregard for their copyright enforcement mechanism,” an AFACT spokesperson said.
One of the more controversial emails involved an iiNet employee allegedly trying to calling in a “personal favour” and have an AFACT investigator - who had been posing as an iiNet customer - arrested.
An iiNet spokesperson retorted that none of the emails presented were relevant in the greater scheme of the case and, if anything, the documents proved iiNet has maintained a consistent approach to allegations of copyright infringement.
“Their exchanges aren’t material to the case and, if they show anything, it is that AFACT notices to iiNet were and have been an issue for the company and the whole ISP industry on how we are to deal with them,” he said. “It also reveals that through this whole period, iiNet has had a consistent policy on how to deal with these allegations and it is inappropriate for iiNet to suspend, limit or reduce Internet access simply because of a third-party allegation.
“iiNet has always been in the view that AFACT should use existing laws to pursue copyright infringements.”
As for the purported “favour” with the WA police, the company highlighted the fact that no action was taken by the police as a result of the email.
The court was told that the WA Police allegedly did no respond to the email.
The trial continues tomorrow. For a detailed timeline of this court case, click here.