Two entertainment-related unions and an artist royalties association have applied to participate as amicus curiae, that is, “friend of the court”, in the Federal Court case between iiNet and the Australian Federation Against Copyright Infringement (AFACT).
Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA), which represents media and entertainment professionals, has joined forces with America’s Screen Actors Guild (SAG) to participate in the copyright case. The Australasian Performing Rights Association (APRA) also wants to join in.
In February, the Federal Court ruled in favour of iiNet, stating the ISP is not responsible for the film piracy that occurs on its network. AFACT, which represented a number of high-profile movie studios to launch the court case against iiNet, has appealed the decision and both parties are due back in court in August.
MEAA actors equity national director, Simon Whipp, said the organisation did not apply amicus curiae previously because it trusted the Federal Court to rule in favour of the copyright owners.
Performers have an interest in the outcome of the proceedings, Whipp said. It related to whether or not piracy went unchecked in the Australian context.
“The question is whether they [ISPs] have any responsibility to do something about [piracy] when they know it is occurring and when they are profiting from it," Whipp said.
The Court will decide whether to allow all three amicus curiae applicants to participate in the case next week.
SAG and APRA could not be reached for comment at the time of publication.
The appeal hearing begins on August 2.