iiNet has proposed a way of dealing with copyright infringements involving an impartial referee which, it claims, can remedy the friction between ISPs and film studios.
The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), representing a number of high-profile movie studios, took iiNet to the Federal Court over alleged film piracy activities by the ISP’s subscribers.
The legal stoush dragged on for two years and iiNet eventually emerged victorious. But the court case has shaken the ISP industry with the Internet Industry Association (IIA) announcing its intent to develop an industry copyright code to clarify the role of ISPs that are accused of content piracy.
In the paper titled Encouraging Legitimate use of On-Line Content: An iiNet view, the ISP claimed film studios generate demand for movies but does limits their availability which leads to film piracy
The report said the way film studios stagger release dates for different regions and queuing up distribution channels create a frustrated market.
Potential customers then look elsewhere – legally or illegally - for the content.
“While the Hollywood studios are late to the party, the music, print, software, computing and gaming industries have made great use of online digital distribution,” iiNet said in the paper. “… None of the industries embracing digital distribution use anything like ‘windowing’ or geographic discrimination.
“Their markets are global, their distribution is largely uniform.”
Rather demanding disconnection of an ISP’s customer suspected of copyright infringement, iiNet has developed an independent body to act as an intermediary between content owners, ISPs and consumers.
In the model, content owners can carry out their own detective work on potential pirates. But instead of presenting ISPs with the gathered information in an attempt to compel them to disconnect suspected users, evidence is tendered to the independent body. Once the evidence is deemed “cogent and unequivocal”, the independent body then approaches the ISPs of alleged infringers for their contact information.
Suspected customers are issued infringement notices and can appeal to the independent body.
The independent body can seek further sanctions on alleged customers which may include fines and court charges.
"iiNet knows there is a lot of discussion to be had and that there are a number of stakeholders still to be engaged," the ISP said. "This paper is but an effort to make our position clear."
ARN is awaiting a response from AFACT in relation to the new iiNet paper.
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