Fellow ISPs have spent the day congratulating iiNet on its court victory over the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).
The ruling was handed down in the Federal Court where presiding judge, Justice Cowdroy, conceded it was “impossible to conclude iiNet [had] authorised copyright infringements”.
AFACT has been ordered to pay iiNet’s legal bill.
iPrimus commended the victorious ISP’s CEO, Michael Malone, and chief regulatory officer, Steve Dalby, for maintaining their composure while defending themselves against “unreasonable charges”.
“This is positive for iiNet for a number of reasons,” iPrimus CEO, Ravi Bhatia, said. “They would have finances set aside in case it lost to AFACT, which can now be released. Secondly, the company can recover some of the legal cost.
“This is also a huge marketing coup for branding iiNet.”
SA-based ISP, Internode, was pleased to see the judge comprehensively ruled in favour of iiNet.
Internode carrier relations manager, John Lindsay, said it was a victory for ISPs. He was frustrated by local content owners’ unwillingness to work with Internet suppliers.
“The ISP sector is all about connecting consumers to content and we’ve been trying to get IPTV and video-on-demand services up for years,” he said. “The content industry, up until now, has not been cooperative in Australia though it has been in other countries.
The fact Justice Cowdroy ruled iiNet was covered under safe harbour provisions impressed Melbourne ISP, Netspace, which said it was an encouraging sign for the ISP industry.
Safe harbour details the responsibilities of ISPs and iiNet was granted the provisions since it was found it had a repeat infringer policy.
“It’s a victory for common sense in that it’s clear the provision of Internet services is not encouraging piracy,” Netspace carrier affairs manager, Matthew Phillips, said. “There are other things that need to be done to reduce piracy but expecting ISPs to police it is clearly not a practical solution and the judge has found that in this case.
“I accept the ISP industry has a role to play to reduce piracy but we’re certainly not taking a lead role and we have to ensure we’re not made the scapegoat for copyright holders in a bid to protect their own livelihood.”
All four ISPs welcomed collaboration with content owners. iiNet, iPrimus and Internode are already involved in offering legal content through their networks.
AFACT was representing 34 movie studios when it took iiNet to court over authorising its customers to pirate movies by not disconnecting suspected infringers. The organisation argued it lost due to the court's technical interpretation of how ISPs control content access on the network. It has 21 days to appeal the decision.
For a full timeline of events around the AFACT vs iiNet case, click here