Internet service providers that shirked responsibilities to prevent copyright infringement on their networks should consider exiting the business, the Federal Court heard today.
As the copyright case between the film industry and ISP iiNet approached its conclusion, the studio's barrister Tony Bannon SC suggested ISPs that did not want to deal with infringement notices should "get out of the business."
"Businesses such as ISPs want to enjoy the benefit of being able to make money out of the provision of internet service facilities and they enjoy that benefit. But it carries with it a responsibility," Bannon told the court.
"They provide a facility that is able to be used for copyright infringement purposes. If they don't like having to deal with copyright notices then they should get out of the business.
"They're quite happy to deal with customer complaints or shaping accounts when it comes to making money, but there's a responsibility which is a requirement of law - one of which is the Copyright Act."
iiNet came under heavy criticism from the studios over its alleged failure to take any "reasonable steps" to combat infringement on its network.
"If an ISP in a case says ‘this is what we tried to do, we tried to deal with notices and these are the systems we use. We cant deal with every one' - let's assume [the ISP] get 100 of these notices per week and tried to process 25 percent of them.
"So they come to court and say ‘this is our reasonable response'. That may be one thing," Bannon hypothesised.
"But in circumstances where they do nothing, where they say they can't send a single notice to anybody, it's like saying they can't stop physical violence happening to the person next to them because there's physical violence happening all around the world.
"This might be a more testing case if they say ‘we have this procedure, we are responding, it's unreasonable to make us do more'. But that doesn't arise in circumstances where they are not taking any steps."
Bannon claimed that it wouldn't "take much with to say if they started taking action", terminated a customer or two and advertised the fact, it would in all likelihood reduce the number of notices it was receiving.