A verdict on the iiNet and the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) is due tomorrow but the Internet Industry Association (IIA) is more concerned with improving relations between copyright holders and ISPs.
“Irrespective of who wins or loses, we will use the occasion to call, once again, for better collaboration between the content industry and Internet carriers,” IIA chief, Peter Coroneos, said. The industry veteran was called as a witness during the high-profile copyright trial.
According to IIA, the fundamental issue is not whether ISPs are legally accountable for their subscribers, but rather an outdated content distribution business model. The advent of the Internet shifted control of content from creators to users and Coroneos claimed traditional means of regulating communication activities have slipped beyond the reach of government and corporations.
The organisation has spearheaded meetings between content owners and ISPs in a bid to foster commercial relationships for legal content distribution to Internet customers.
“We can move towards win-win outcomes for content owners and end users,” Coroneos said. “I think a lot of these piracy infringement activities will become academic because we will soon see the market offering affordable, accessible and legal alternatives.”
He predicted this would happen within the next five years without the need for government intervention. Minister for Broadband, Senator Stephen Conroy, meanwhile, has conceded he is awaiting the trial outcome to decide whether or not new copyright legislations should be introduced.
“A lot of these issues will be resolved by the market and there is no need for draconian legislation,” Coroneos said. “If the Government is minded to legislate, we would instead encourage them to support helping us bring forward an environment where new business models can evolve.
“The Minister is, after all, the Minister for the digital economy and I can’t think of anything more compelling in a digital economy than access to affordable and legal content.”
IIA said it was in regular contact with the Government over this issue and has yet to decide the course of any action.
“We are concerned because our view is Australia already has strong, if not the strongest copyright legislation so there are already tools available for copyright holders to enforce their rights,” Coroneos said.
Regardless of the verdict due tomorrow, the case is expected to be appealed up to the High Court. While IIA’s initial application to participate in the trial was rejected, the organisation has not ruled out applying again during the appeal.
Representing a numerous Hollywood studio bigwigs, AFACT took iiNet to Federal Court in October over copyright infringement. AFACT claimed the ISP ‘authorised’ piracy on the iiNet network by its subscriber base by not limiting their use of their Internet service.
For a detailed timeline of the case, click here.