Film industry appeals in iiTrial case

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Film industry appeals in iiTrial case

On 15 grounds.

AFACT has lodged a last minute appeal against a Federal Court judgement earlier this month which exonerated ISP iiNet for the copyright infringing activities of its subscribers.

For the latest on the appeal grounds, click here.

The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, representing 34 of the world's largest film companies, filed an appeal in the Federal Court today on 15 grounds.

The legal community had anticipated that AFACT would appeal, if only to exhaust all potential avenues before calling for the Federal Government to intervene.

In a statement today, AFACT said the judgement "left an unworkable online environment for content creators and content providers" and "represents a serious threat to Australia's digital economy."

AFACT Executive Director Neil Gane said the judgement was "out of step" with established copyright law.

"The court found large scale copyright infringements, that iiNet knew they were occurring, that iiNet had the contractual and technical capacity to stop them and iiNet did nothing about them," he said.

Gane said that previous case law (such as Cooper and Kazaa) suggested iiNet's failure to act should have amounted to "authorisation" of copyright infringement - a notion that was rejected by Justice Cowdroy in his ruling.

Gane said the decision had rendered Safe Harbour provisions irrelevant.

"This decision allows iiNet to pay lip service to provisions that were designed to encourage ISPs to prevent copyright infringements in return for the safety the law provided," he said. "If this decision stands, the ISPs have all the protection without any of the responsibility.

"By allowing internet companies like iiNet to turn a blind eye to copyright theft, the decision harms not just the studios that produce and distribute movies, it but also Australia's creative community and all those whose livelihoods depend on a vibrant entertainment industry."

iiNet "disappointed"

iiNet chief executive Michael Malone released a statement today saying that it was "more than disappointing and frustrating that the studios have chosen this unproductive path."

Malone again pressed the film industry to drop its litigation and talk to ISPs about finding better commercial models for its content.

"This legal case has not stopped one illegal download and further legal appeals will not stop piracy," he said.

Malone said services like Hulu or iiNet's content freezone represent the only effective means of combating online piracy.

"We stand ready to work with the film and television industry to develop, implement and promote these new approaches and models," he said. "We are ready to champion them in partnership with the studios, but court proceedings and more legal challenges only serve to delay this and in the meantime more copyright material will be stolen."

More to follow...

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

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