EFA: Internet users would suffer under AFACT win

EFA: Internet users would suffer under AFACT win

Online rights group may seek to participate in the AFACT vs iiNet court case if the verdict is appealed

The Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) claims an Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) victory in the copyright court case against iiNet would have serious ramifications for Internet users.

AFACT and iiNet are embroiled in a copyright infringement case and a verdict is due on February 4.

EFA said if AFACT won, Australian ISPs would be compelled to determine when individual users infringe on their network and to turn off Internet access for alleged offenders with little proof.

“ISPs will be not just be disconnecting one user, it will affect an entire household, which would affects kids doing their school work and so on,” EFA chair, Nic Suzor, said. “This will occur with no judicial oversight and is subjected to arbitrary determination.”

The verdict will not be the end of this lengthy legal saga either, as the case is expected to end up in front of the High Court regardless of the outcome. While the Industry group was not actively involved in case, EFA will consider applying as amicus curiae, a ‘friend of the court’ during any appeal process. The Internet Industry Association (IIA) is also looking to do the same thing.

“Our major concern at this stage is users are being unrepresented through the judicial process,” Suzor said. “But the ramifications of the case will have significant effect on how secure individuals can be on Internet access and on what grounds and process individuals have to go through to have their access revoked.

“If it turns out those sorts of concerns weren’t adequately represented before the courts, which is a real problem with these sorts of action, then we would seriously consider advancing with some sort of amicus brief.”

AFACT represents a number of international movie studios which have accused iiNet of authorising piracy on its network by not acting on alleged copyright infringement by users through BitTorrent clients. The trial began in October and ended mid-November.

During the trial, AFACT attempted character assassination of top iiNet executives, even going as far as accusing iiNet chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, of issuing misleading evidence.

iiNet fired back, claiming evidence against the company, compiled by AFACT investigators, were flawed. The ISP also highlighted previous business dealings between the movie studios involved in the case and BitTorrent organisations which operate the software client used in the alleged copyright infringements.

For a detailed timeline of the case, click here.

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Tags iiNetAustralian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT)Internet Industry Association (IIA)Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA)


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