AFACT to try taking iiTrial to High Court

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Seeks to overturn authorisation ruling.

Film Studios locked in a copyright battle with iiNet have indicated they will seek leave to lodge a High Court appeal against a decision that seemed to absolve the ISP from responsibility for its users' alleged piracy. 

The decision by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft to pursue this course was widely tipped because it was the final hurdle before it could appeal for Government intervention.

The federation's director Neil Gane said the studios would seek a High Court ruling that iiNet had authorised acts of copyright infringement that occurred on its network.

Previous rulings by Federal Court Judge Dennis Cowdroy and by the Full Bench of the Federal Court found against the studios on the key point of authorisation.

But, buoyed by a judgment last month that afforded the studios significant concessions compared to the original judgment, AFACT said today it would seek leave to file a High Court appeal on the authorisation issue.

"In response to the Full Court's conclusion that iiNet did not have sufficient knowledge of the infringements to authorise them, the film companies will argue that iiNet did have sufficient knowledge, that it admitted the acts of infringement and that its CEO admitted on the stand that the evidence was 'compelling'," Gane said.

"We are confident of our grounds for appeal and hopeful that special leave to the High Court will be granted."

The move was unlikely to be met favourably by iiNet, whose chief Michael Malone blasted the film industry last month for "wasting" two years suing ISPs rather than coming to the table to negotiate a genuine long-term solution to online piracy."

Indeed, Malone reiterated previous statements today that even if the film industry won its High Court appeal, illegal downloading on internet networks wouldn't stop.

Only last week iiNet proposed the establishment of an "independent body" to handle allegations of copyright infringement against internet users, with the power to issue demerit points and fines for breaches.

That came as the Internet Industry Association resurrected attempts to create an industry code to deal with internet piracy on ISP networks.

Malone called on content owners to focus their efforts on making content legitimately available online in more places.

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