Day 22: Film studios target iiNet business model change

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Day 22: Film studios target iiNet business model change

Previous cases support alteration.

Internet service provider iiNet could be forced to change its business model if the Federal Court rules in favour of the film industry in the copyright case against it, the court heard today.

In handing up the applicant’s final written submissions, the film studios’ lead barrister Tony Bannon told the court that “in almost all cases [brought to the courts the defendant] undoubtedly has a feeling of commercial offence or outrage that it can’t do what it wants with its property in the way it wants to do it".

“But there is a framework of copyright,” Bannon said. “It doesn’t matter what the nature of the business is - if it runs foul of copyright legislation it’s something they have to address.

“If the court imposes a different business model - if that’s the correct analysis - then it’s not the first time a company has to convert its ways to comply with the law.”

Bannon invoked case law including the Universal Music Australia v Cooper and Universal Music Australia v Sharman cases to show there was a history of rulings that forced businesses to change their operations.

“There’s no reference [in either case] to a business model as some sort of exclusion,” Bannon said.

“The often-repeated catchcry of iiNet to the effect of 'the applicants want us to change our business model' doesn’t have a basis in legislation and is ultimately no more than a catchcry.”

Bannon also directed his closing submissions towards disputing statements iiNet made in its submissions on the grounds there was “no statutory basis” for the claims to be made.

They included that iiNet did not have control over the BitTorrent client - meaning, it had no power to prevent the infringing activities for which the client was used.

“But if the user isn’t online there’s nothing the BitTorrent client can do to infringe,” Bannon put to the court.

iiNet’s power to prevent infringement on its network was in its provision of an internet connection to a customer, Bannon said.

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

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