Day 13: Does Freezone keep pirates at bay?

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Day 13: Does Freezone keep pirates at bay?

Film industry says no, iiNet says yes.

The side-effect of an ISP's subscriber benefit was not responsible for propagating illegally copied material over the internet, its chief executive officer told the Federal Court today.

iiNet chief executive officer Michael Malone denied its freezone offer was "highly attractive" to illegal downloaders but he conceded the download quota freed-up by watching legal content could be used for illegal purposes.

On the stand for a third consecutive day in a case brought against the No. 3 ISP by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, Malone faced pressure from plaintiff's barrister Tony Bannon to agree "that the freezone is highly attractive to a person interested in maximising the bandwidth available to them to engage in illegal downloading".

"I don't believe that to be true," Malone said.

He said freezone attracted a "different type of segment or person" to illegal content downloaders.

"[But] an illegal downloader gets the freezone anyway?" Bannon pressed.

"Correct," Malone said.

"And you say some of that freezone material is attractive to customers?"


"So you don't have to use any download quota to enjoy those attractive features?"


Malone said it gave customers an "alternative to downloading something illegal[ly]".

"They've got a finite number of hours in their day," Malone told the court, suggesting that users watching free, legal content had less time to engage in potentially infringing acts.

"You're promoting content on a basis which makes it attractive for users to acquire your plans and quotas. And part of that attraction is [watching] freezone [content] frees up quota [for other activities]," Bannon alleged. "[That freed up quota] can be used for illegal downloading of my client's films, wouldn't you agree?"

"It can be, yes," Malone said.

Before the case began, iiNet said it would argue that it encouraged only legal downloads over its network by offering unmetered, legal content. The federation brought the case against the Perth ISP, alleging it wasn't doing enough to stop illicit sharing of copyright materials over its nationwide network.

The case continues. You can follow the case in-full here. For a background on the case, click here.


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