The 34 film companies represented by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) have expressed disappointment in the Federal Court’s decision to rule in favour of iiNet.
The verdict by presiding judge, Justice Cowdroy today found iiNet had not authorised copyright infringements across its network. The judge also ordered AFACT to pay iiNet's legal cost.
Although conceding the applicants' copyright had been breached, the infringements were the result of the users directly and not the ISP's network, Justice Cowdroy said.
Speaking on behalf of the Australian and US film companies that launched the action, AFACT executive director, Neil Gane, expressed disappointment in the Court’s decision.
“Today’s decision is a set back for the 50,000 Australians employed in the film industry,” he said in a statement. “But we believe this decision was based on a technical finding centred on the court’s interpretation of the how infringements occur and the ISPs’ ability to control them.
“We are confident that the Government does not intend a policy outcome where rampant copyright infringement is allowed to continue unaddressed and unabated via the iiNet network.”
Gane’s comments fuel widespread expectations that AFACT will appeal the Federal Court’s decision, sending the case into the High Court of Australia.
“We will now take the time to review the decision before making further comment on next steps,” Gane said in the AFACT statement.
AFACT represents a range of film studios and content owners including Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Disney Enterprises, and the Seven Network.