Several film studios listed as applicants in the copyright case against ISP iiNet had "contractual relationships" with BitTorrent, counsel for iiNet alleged in court today.
The studios, including 20th Century Fox, Paramount and Warner Bros, had their logos on the BitTorrent.com site, located directly under the 'free download' button for the BitTorrent client.
"A number of major studios who are key applicants in this case have a contractual relationship with BitTorrent," general counsel for iiNet Richard Cobden alleged.
"The agreements I'm told [are] confidential."
Cobden tendered to the court iiNet's version of the process that an ordinary internet user would undertake to get a copy of the BitTorrent client, and then to use it to search for one of the 86 copyrighted works listed in the case.
Users visiting the BitTorrent.com website and clicking to download the software client would see a box directly below the ‘download' button containing logos for a number of major film studios.
Once the user had downloaded the client, BitTorrent thanked and directed them to "search the web for stuff to download.
"Nowhere, despite BitTorrent being in a contractual relationship with these key studios, does the site say ‘By the way, try not to download anything owned by Paramount, Warner or Fox," counsel alleged.
"On the website of a partner of Paramount... nothing says please be careful, don't infringe on the rights of Paramount."
Counsel alleged that links to a torrent for Cloverfield, a film owned by Paramount, was visible "only two screens away from the Paramount logo [on the BitTorrent.com website]".
The links led to Torrent sites including Torrentz and Mininova. No warning was given to users not to use their BitTorrent client to download copyright material from the sites.
Cobden alleged the film industry was "engaged wholeheartedly in the promotion of BitTorrent, the accused vehicle of all the infringements in this case."
In contrast, iiNet had no relationship with BitTorrent, Mininova or any torrent site, Cobden alleged.
"It's important to make clear that iiNet did not develop BitTorrent. IiNet doesn't update... distribute... [or] endorse BitTorrent," he alleged.
"iiNet says that BitTorrent can be misused and indeed internal documents warn people [staff] about that."