Hollywood studios lose landmark case

2012-04-20 09:27
Sydney - Top Hollywood film studios on Friday failed in their attempt to stem the flow of illegal downloads when they lost a landmark appeal against an Australian internet provider.

A group of international and Australian companies, including Warner Bros, Disney and 20th Century Fox, alleged that iiNet authorised the infringement of their copyright when its customers downloaded movies and television programmes.

In a world-first judgement in 2010, a Federal Court in Australia ruled iiNet did not authorise the downloads or have the power to stop them, thwarting the studios' attempt to stem losses they say run into billions of dollars.

The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (Afact), made up of 34 film, television and music companies, appealed, claiming it set a dangerous precedent that allowed internet companies to ignore copyright theft.

But in a serious blow to their fight against piracy it was thrown out by Australia's highest court on Friday.

File sharing system

"The High Court held that the respondent, an internet service provider (ISP), had not authorised the infringement by its customers of the appellants' copyright in commercially released films and television programmes," the unanimous ruling said.

It added that iiNet had no direct technical power to prevent its customers from using the BitTorrent file sharing system to infringe copyright, by downloading content to watch on their laptops and PCs.

"Rather, the extent of iiNet's power to prevent its customers from infringing... copyright was limited to an indirect power to terminate its contractual relationship with its customers," the court said.

The case was seen as an ambitious attempt to force ISPs to act against piracy.

It hinged on thousands of downloads over the Perth-based iiNet network over 59 weeks from June 2008 involving nearly 90 films and TV series including Batman Begins, Transformers and Heroes.

The movie studios hoped to set a worldwide precedent forcing ISPs to act against offenders, while internet rights groups feared it would compel the firms to cut customers' web access without having to take them to court.

iiNet welcomed the decision, saying it proved the claims made against it were unfounded.

Lawful content

"This marks the end of more than three years of legal argument and challenges," said chief executive Michael Malone.

"More notably, while this case has been important, for both iiNet and for regulation of the industry internationally, it has not distracted us from our core business."

He said the best way for the film industry to protect owners' copyright was to increase the availability of lawful, online content in a more timely and affordable way.

Malone added that there was strong evidence that content partnerships and agreements between ISPs, legal websites and copyright holders was the best way to reduce piracy, rather than costly legal battles.

"Increasing the availability of licensed digital content is the best, most practical approach to meet consumer demand and protect copyright," he said.

"We have consistently said we are eager to work with the studios to make their very desirable material legitimately available to a waiting customer base and that offer remains the same today."
Read more on:    internet
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Music
 

Hottie of the day: Colette

Colette feels sexiest when she is in her bikini on the beach or next to the pool.Check out some awesome pics of her here!

 
 

Men24.com

How to maintain your mo, bro
Pro-skater Tony Hawk rides a hoverboard!
10 ways to drive her wild!
10 things you should never say after sex

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

ONE DAY ONLY – Buy 1 book & get 1 FREE!

There are 100’s of hot titles to choose from. Offer valid while stocks last. T&C’s apply. Shop now!

20% off ALL TV Series

Choose from 1000’s of the hottest TV Series . While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong desire to be unique, self sufficient, right and in control today. Your mind is fast today and you may have the...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.