ISP Exetel had modified its policy for privacy infringement processes in the wake of Justice Cowdroy's landmark ruling in favour of iiNet last Thursday in the Federal Court.
The Federal Court had ruled that iiNet did not authorise copyright infringement on its network, despite users on its network being found to have downloaded pirated material.
From the end of February, Exetel has notified its customers in an email that they will no longer have their Internet access temporarily blocked by Exetel if accused of copyright infringement.
Nor will customers be directed to a ‘block page' on which they have to acknowledge receipt of copyright infringement notices. Customers had previously been asked to state that they had either complied with the notice, or denied the allegation, on Exetel's block page.
But Exetel will continue to send out infringement notices to its customers on behalf of film industry investigators. The company said in the email that it believes this "in the best interest of the person who pays for the Internet services to know what other entities believe the service is being used for."
The CEO of Exetel, John Linton, said on his blog that he believed Cowdroy's ruling indicated that there is no current law requiring ISPs to assist in reducing copyright theft.
Linton likens this to not requiring a person who rents out guns to exercise any duty of care as to whom they're rented out to. He also believes that the Internet is used "massively to infringe copyright".
Claiming that forwarding copyright infringement notices is a "trivial exercise with minute costs", Linton also speculated whether iiNet's evidence to the contrary - given under oath in the witness stand at court - "constitutes perjury".
The final Exetel copyright infringement notice is subject to legal advice and "testing" but a draft of it was posted on the Australian Network Operators' Group mailing list, as per below.
Dear [ ],
A copyright infringement notice has been sent to Exetel that states that your Exetel IP (internet connection) has been used to acquire material the breaches copyright.
You do not need to take any action except to be aware that, if you or some member of your household are in fact using your internet connection to infringe another party's copyright, they have been able to detect that action and could, at some time in the future should they wish to do so, involve themselves in the legal and other costs of taking some action against you.
Again, you are not required to take any action regarding this infringement notice and it is sent to you as a courtesy in case usage of the internet connection in your name is being used in ways unknown to you.