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Film companies lose online liability case in Australia

Peter Ollier, Hong Kong

The Full Federal Court of Australia has found that an Australian internet service provider did not authorise copyright infringement carried out by its customers in a case that is now likely to be appealed to the High Court

In a split decision on February 24, the Full Federal Court rejected an appeal brought by a coalition of Australian film studios and led by the Australian Federation against Copyright Theft (AFACT) but criticised the conduct of iiNet (the ISP involved in the case).

Judge Emmet stated that although iiNet "demonstrated a dismissive and, indeed, contumelious, attitude to the complaints of infringement by the use of its services, its conduct did not amount to authorisation of the primary acts of infringement on the part of iiNet users".

In November 2008, the coalition sued iiNet claiming that the ISP did not take enough action to prevent its users from illegally sharing files over BitTorrent networks, despite being presented with evidence by the AFACT.

Section 101(1) of Australia's Copyright Act states that when deciding whether a person has authorised copyright infringement the court must take into account a series of factors,...

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