Forensics experts examine iiNet and Telstra facilities

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Forensics experts examine iiNet and Telstra facilities

ISP names key witness but film industry stays mum.

ISP iiNet has revealed the identity of its key forensics expert witness in the film industry copyright case in which it is embroiled.

The Perth ISP was brought before the Federal Court in a suit lodged by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, a conglomerate of film distributors, over copyrighted material being allegedly shared  illegally over its network.

A senior scientist at Northrop Grumman in the U.S., Michael Caloyannides visited iiNet and Telstra facilities in Sydney and Perth last week to prepare his affidavit.

In a directions hearing at the Federal Court in Sydney today, it was also revealed the federation would tour the facilities before the next hearing on September 8.

But a federation spokesman said it was unclear which technical expert it would use.

The film industry has named Ferrier Hodgson IT forensics executive, Nigel Carson, as an expert in the case.

Carson provided expert evidence in the music industry's action against the filesharing site Kazaa.

But the spokesman said Carson "wouldn't necessarily do the site tours".

Lawyers acting on behalf of iiNet did not anticipate major issues with the film industry touring the same iiNet and Telstra facilities that Dr Caloyannides had visited.

Dr Caloyannides' spent 14 years as a chief scientist for a component of the US Government and oversaw "a vast number of classified programs, specifically including ones in the fields of telecommuncations and of information security", according to papers seen by iTnews.

And he designed high-speed modems, telecommunications systems and classified systems at aerospace firm Rockwell.

Dr Caloyannides was called as an expert witness in an undisclosed number of patent infringement and criminal trials in the US where evidence was based on telecommunications or IT, such as mobile phones, geolocation and forensics.

Much of today's hearing in Sydney was related to whether it was illegal under the Telecommunications Act for iiNet to act on the evidence of alleged copyright infringement supplied by the film industry - for example, by terminating a customer's account.

iiNet has maintained that the film industry's evidence against customers should be proven in the courts first.

Federation lawyers said the standing behind the act was "a novel defence".

The ISP said it had also asked the film industry formally on three occasions to state what "reasonable steps" the ISP should take to prevent copyright infringement on its network.

The film industry, through its lawyers, said it was "not for us to provide a code to iiNet that would absolve it from liability".

"We focus [in our case] on the evidence of what iiNet did and our contention is that doesn't amount to reasonable steps," federation lawyers said.

iiNet managing director Michael Malone was expected to submit an affidavit next week that hypothetically - in the absence of guidance from the film industry - addressed what the ISP saw as reasonable steps and the practicalities of adhering to them.

The document was expected to include details of what it might cost iiNet to implement such steps.

But the ISP contended the details were hypothetical because implementing them would contravene the act.

iiNet said in a statement that it "does not in any way support, or encourage, breaches of the law, including infringement of the Copyright Act or the Telecommunications Act".

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