The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) has claimed iiNet customers consent to disclose their personal information once they commit copyright infringement.
AFACT represents a swathe a movie studios and is appealing the Federal Court decision in February that iiNet did not authorise the film piracy of its users. The matter has been taken up to the Full Federal Court.
On day four of the appeal hearing, AFACT barrister, Christian Dimitriadis, dismissed iiNet’s claim the company deemed it unreasonable to act on the numerous notices and documents provided by AFACT detailing the “rampant” film piracy occurring on its network.
iiNet has argued The Telecommunications Act 1997 prohibits the disclose or use of customer information so the ISP therefore considered it unreasonable to act on the notices regarding its subscribers’ film piracy issued by AFACT. But part 13 of the Telco Act stipulates an exception can be made if the customer grants consent.
Primary judge to the original case, Justice Cowdroy had recognised exceptions to part 13 of the Telco Act but since he ruled iiNet did not authorise its customers to illegally download, that point was moot to the case.
The ISP has taken the opportunity of this appeal hearing to fight against the applicable exceptions of the Telco Act.
But Dimitriardis claimed by signing the customer relationship agreement (CRA) required to connect an Internet service, a subscriber then agreed to not use iiNet service to commit infringing activities. If a customer does so, in this case, infringe copyright, iiNet had the right use personal information other than for administrative purposes to act on the infringements, he said.
The notices and documents tendered to iiNet by AFACT contained information gathered from public Bit Torrent networks. This included the IP addresses of infringing iiNet customers as well as the times the infringements took place.
Since the gathered information was publically available, given to iiNet by a third-party, and infringing activities were violated the terms of agreement in iiNet’s CRA, Dimitriartis argued the ISP was well within its rights to act on AFACT’s infringement notices.
The barrister also claimed regardless of whether it could be definitively identified that the person pirating films on Bit Torrent was the actual subscriber, a service should be terminated since the listed subscriber is responsible for the use of its Internet connection.
The hearing continues.