• Catch issues early, fix them fast – Free trial


    [ad] With GFI Cloud you can easily manage and secure your remote workforce – wherever they are, from wherever you are! The simple IT management platform includes patch management, antivirus, web protection, monitoring and remote control. Get the benefit of endpoint protection with the ease of central management. Start a free trial now.


  • Great articles on other sites
  • RSS Great articles on other sites


  • Featured, News - Written by on Friday, July 29, 2011 14:20 - 47 Comments

    AFACT wants ‘automated’ BitTorrent violation system

    The Australian organisation representing film and TV studios’ anti-piracy efforts has written to at least one local ISP requesting a meeting to discuss implementing an “automated processing system” for copyright infringement notices to be distributed to customers.

    The organisation — known as the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft or AFACT — represents a number of multinational film and TV studios concerned about online piracy of their content through avenues such as peer to peer file sharing service BitTorrent. It is best known for its high-profile legal battle with ISP iiNet over BitTorrent, which is expected to reach the High Court this year.

    It is believed that AFACT considers early judgements in the case to have opened the door for it to legally approach Australian ISPs about online copyright infringement, provided it supplied the right level of detail about the alleged offences. In the past few months, a number of ISPs have confirmed the organisation has approached them about the matter.

    In one letter to Exetel sent by AFACT yesterday and seen by Delimiter, AFACT requested a meeting with the ISP.

    “AFACT is fully aware that Exetel has a Copyright Policy in place and AFACT would welcome the opportunity to meet with Exetel to discuss how AFACT and Exetel can work together to enhance the efficacy of Exetel’s graduated response process,” the letter from AFACT executive director Neil Gane stated. “For example, we could discuss the implementation of a standardised automated processing system that could integrate with your current network.”

    Currently, different ISPs take different approaches to the issue of online piracy, with some committing to forward on copyright infringement notices to users, followed by potential disconnection of their service, and others either ignoring the letters or forwarding them to law enforcement authorities.

    In its letter to Exetel, AFACT noted that it was also sending the ISP a comprehensive spreadsheet detailing “a sample of up to 100 instances per week” of alleged copyright infringement actions taking place by Exetel customers. The letter stated that a high degree of detail was contained in the spreadsheet — including the date and time of the alleged infringement, the IP address on which it occured, the name and detailed of the file shared online, the name of the AFACT member company holding the copyright and more.

    The information was compiled, according to AFACT, by DtecNet Software, which specialises in copyright infringement tracking and also supplied information to AFACT to aid with the iiNet court case.

    “In line with our commitment to protect our member companies’ content, AFACT is investigating infringements of copyright in movies and television shows in Australia by customers of Exetel taking place on Exetel’s networks through the use of the BitTorrent “peer-to-peer” protocol (BitTorrent),” AFACT wrote.

    Separately, an AFACT spokesperson today said the organisation didn’t comment on “operational matters”, but noted that the full Federal Court had found it was “reasonable and effective” for an ISP to warn its customers not to infringe copyright.

    ” They also found that that ISPs had other effective steps under customer contracts that they could take to prevent repeat infringements and that that account holders are responsible for the infringing use of their accounts,” the AFACT spokesperson said.

    It’s the second time that AFACT has contacted Exetel on the BitTorrent issue this month; the organisation wrote to the ISP expressing similar sentiments earlier this month, setting a time limit of seven days for a response, and noting it would take an unspecified action after that point. On that occasion, Exetel chief executive John Linton’s response to the letter was short and sharp.

    In his response to the new letter, Linton CC’d in a number of journalists and Exetel staff late yesterday, and took a similar approach, requesting that Exetel would be “more than happy” to comply with the law if AFACT would point out the applicable legal framework, and would forward alleged copyright infringement notices if AFACT would use what he referred to as the internationally agreed upon email format for sending them.

    “The crude and extremely difficult manual format your organization chose to adopt during your previous ‘program’ (and again now) is pointlessly cumbersome and costly; I assume for you as well as any ISP you choose to send your notices to,” Linton wrote.

    “While we could, again, go to the expense of taking a highly qualified [senior counsel's] advice (a more competent one than you chose to use in that dog’s breakfast of a law suit you brought against iiNet) about our requirements under the current Federal and NSW laws to do that or any more than we do today, I would think, would result in the same advice as last time – we have the appropriate written advice, on which we are currently relying, that we have no obligations to do more than we currently do all as the law stands today.”

    Linton also questioned why AFACT would target it and not larger ISPs.

    “As you must know Exetel is a very small company and compared to Telstra, Optus and TPG, we carry a minute percentage the type of traffic you refer to in the first paragraph of your letter,” he wrote. “Why you would choose to threaten us in the ways you have chosen to do when we couldn’t possibly affect your clients in the ways a major carrier does can only be conjectured upon.”

    Image credit: Delimiter

    submit to reddit

    47 Comments

    You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

    1. Posted 29/07/2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink |

      Clearly one of John Linton’s glory moments :)

    2. Posted 29/07/2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink |

      So AFACT are using this DTecNet software to intercept and analyse traffic belonging to someone else? Hmmm…

      • PointZeroOne
        Posted 29/07/2011 at 3:01 pm | Permalink |

        I’ve always wondered about the legalities of how they gathered their information

        • Posted 29/07/2011 at 3:05 pm | Permalink |

          Well, I’m no lawyer, but it seems borderline illegal to me…

          • PointZeroOne
            Posted 29/07/2011 at 3:15 pm | Permalink |

            Well they could be seeding the movies themselves and just jot down IP address that connect and download or jot down IP address of people seeding.

            • Posted 29/07/2011 at 3:23 pm | Permalink |

              heh…anyone with a crayon and butchers paper could do that…I wonder how much they paid for this software? :o)

              • deteego
                Posted 29/07/2011 at 7:33 pm | Permalink |

                They simply download public torrents themselves and then do IP lookups on all the pellegal (ople downloading the torrent

                Thats not illegal (since they own the copyrighted software they are downloading)

            • John
              Posted 29/07/2011 at 6:07 pm | Permalink |

              If they seed it themselves and capture the IP doesn’t that imply that that particular movie etc is fine to download since they the copyright owner are sharing it?

    3. Josh
      Posted 29/07/2011 at 3:41 pm | Permalink |

      Does anyone have any details of how the “alleged copyright infringement actions taking place” are being evidenced by AFACT? I’d be interested to see.

      My suspicion would be that they are just getting IP addresses of seeders from torrent trackers, but that doesn’t prove anything except the torrent tracker advertised the IP address does it? Unless they are actually downloading content from seeders? Any other ideas?

      • Dean
        Posted 29/07/2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink |

        I believe during iiNet trail, it was revealed that the do actually connect to the IP addresses in the tracker and attempt to download (parts of) the file.

        • Josh
          Posted 29/07/2011 at 4:50 pm | Permalink |

          That would make sense as much as anything I can think of…

          It sounds like it would be awfully hard to verify by any third part after the fact, unless that user happened to be still seeding whenever someone tries to verify. How does this become anything more than “he did because we say he did.” Anyone can create a log saying all sorts of things…

        • MeMeMe
          Posted 31/07/2011 at 2:35 am | Permalink |

          And they download parts of the file from someone at that IP address, not necessarily the account holder.

          Holding a customer legally accountable for the actions as claimed should require a higher level of review than simply having some company connecting an IP address to a packet of data, but most importantly, any costs to bring an action should be met at least initially by the “copyright troll” and then upon conviction, possibly the accused.

          Never should the costs of this trawling for the copyright holders be borne by the general internet using population. Their wish to have the costs of their own copyright enforcement be placed upon the IPS’s and therefore its customers has about as much merit as me demanding that ISP’s also take on the costs of my own enforcement regime however small or large it may be.

          They should also consider that if they can achieve anywhere close to 100% of what they want, they’ll simply drive people to pirate the old fashion “sneakernet” way and friends will get together with their collections of USB harddrives and share the material “off the wire”

      • Posted 30/07/2011 at 8:02 am | Permalink |

        It also presumes that the IP addresses are “correct” – it’s relatively trivial to jump behind a proxy, a VPN, or fudge your IP with raw sockets and source routing.

        Or open your Wi-Fi and say one of your neighbours or a war-driver did it.

        Now you have plausible deniability. It’s up to them to prove it was physically you.

        • dd
          Posted 31/07/2011 at 5:45 pm | Permalink |

          acutally because its a copyright, and thats commercial law, you dont even have to respond to thier invalid court claims, as it pertains to a legal fiction and not a person.

        • Josh
          Posted 01/08/2011 at 10:02 am | Permalink |

          Yes, the fact that it is not too difficult to fudge your IP is a bother if, for some reason, what AFACT gathers does hold up to some sort of legal recourse. It can’t be very robust as far as I can see. Very possible to get false positives. But then again, civil matters only need to be proven “in all probability” and I guess it would be a civil and not criminal matter? Might be good enough evidence for a civil matter?
          I, for one, would be very disappointed to live in a country where my ISP is going to disconnect me based on this sort of IP harvesting and nothing else. I’m not moving to the USA any time soon!

          On a slightly different but related thought, how could some sort of agreement between an ISP and AFACT (or a similar organization) to disconnect allegedly “infringing” users not amount to something like cartel conduct? That is what AFACT want isn’t it? I can’t think of any laws off the top of my head that would cover it, but that is very nasty conduct similar to what laws regarding cartel price fixing and fair competition laws cover. It is different enough that maybe nothing does cover it at the moment? Just as nasty if not more nasty than cartel conduct if you ask me though.

    4. HC
      Posted 29/07/2011 at 4:26 pm | Permalink |

      LOL AFACT.

      Sounds like they want a bottomless pit revenue raising project not dissimilar to speed cameras.

      • RDG
        Posted 29/07/2011 at 5:09 pm | Permalink |

        As soon as AFACT start offering the ISPs payment for serving the notices etc., the ISPs will be into it like pigs to the trough at feeding time.

        Just like the IIA has changed its position on filtering.

        • Isaac
          Posted 30/07/2011 at 10:04 pm | Permalink |

          Actually most likely not, as I believe them doing anything further would breach privacy laws and the like. Also have no doubt Linton would fight it as he’s not stupid (they offer cheap, high quota plans: he’d scare off all his customers).

    5. Posted 29/07/2011 at 5:44 pm | Permalink |

      Surely this can’t help AFACT in the upcoming appeal?

      It just shows that they don’t give a rats arse about the law. They will keep pushing ISP’s to do their work for them no matter what the ruling is.

    6. GeronimoBill
      Posted 29/07/2011 at 6:22 pm | Permalink |

      It would be the same process they used in iiNet trial. The legality of the detection was never questioned – so I can’t imagine it’s “borderline illegal”.

      During the trial – both the court (Trial and Full Federal Court), and iiNet accepted the evidence was accurate.

      As for this comment:
      “It just shows that they don’t give a rats arse about the law”, I think all it shows is they are attempting to use the precedents and rulings used by the Full Federal Court.

      I think you need to re familiarise yourself with the FFC ruling if you think that iiNet “won” the case. iiNet didn’t lose the case, but they certainly lost the defences they were relying on to keep them out of liability – and they almost certainly wont apply second time around.

    7. Mark
      Posted 29/07/2011 at 6:27 pm | Permalink |

      AFACT is pety as a cyber bully actually more like AFACT is a cyber thug.

      • Mick
        Posted 29/07/2011 at 6:41 pm | Permalink |

        I can see these tools loosing more money if they get there way

    8. Brendan
      Posted 29/07/2011 at 6:52 pm | Permalink |

      Oh I like this, ever so much.

      AFACT are simply a revenue stream. Just like RIAA, MPAA, et all. They don’t exist to protect the artist. They exist to protect the eco-system that has feed from artist effort, for decades.

      AFACT are attempting to “fix” the small issue of law, due process and the reason for having a courts system, and simply bypass it. It’s also extremely lazy. Why raise a legal claim, when you can use the machine-gun approach of fining everyone for participating in a bit-torrent stream, and claim orders-of-magnitudes in “lost” income. I doubt this is spurred by the court case, other than perhaps with respect to costs.

      It’s a highly effective way of avoiding both entirely and perpetuating the myth that bob downloading a single copy of Lady Gaga’s latest monstrosity is akin to 30,000 copies of EMI’s entire back catalogue as “lost sales”.

      No, we have a courts system for a reason. If AFACT can prove a claim, then they can get recompense. If they can’t, too bad.

    9. Posted 29/07/2011 at 7:04 pm | Permalink |

      Why is there still an argument over the legality of how the information was obtained?

      AFACT were authorised by the copyright owners to get it, yes they would have technically downloaded the torrents themselves but as they had authorisation so they weren’t breaching copyright.

      • PointZeroOne
        Posted 29/07/2011 at 8:10 pm | Permalink |

        No we are talking about how they get/confirm the IP address, not what the company is downloading. Also if it has been authorised by the copyright holder for them to seed it, then wouldn’t everyone that is leeching that seed be legally obtaining the file?

        • PeterA
          Posted 30/07/2011 at 4:06 pm | Permalink |

          They don’t care about downloading. That they at most get you for theft of 10 dollars.
          Uploading is where the “damages” are, you have changed from being a petty theif, to being a full blown copyright infringement outfit!!11 distributing copyrighted materials for your own gain! Problem is, if you charged everyone in a torrent cloud as a copyright uploader, and added e damages, the total cost would be astronomical compared to the number of lost sales.
          It’s the fact that the law is designed for dealing with people that are manufacturing fake copies to sell at markets etc. NOT for each consumer uploading (parts) of what they are downloading. The fines for “distribution” include extra costs for damages over and above the actual cost of a single download.

          So basically, They only care about your uploads, they personally don’t distribute copyrighted material.

        • Posted 31/07/2011 at 6:57 pm | Permalink |

          Well sharing the information is how they get the IP addresses.

          As for why isn’t legal to downloaded it since they’re uploading it, them uploading would merely be a byproduct of getting the IP addresses, the fact you’re trying to get the file at all is what they are after.

    10. Daniel
      Posted 29/07/2011 at 7:45 pm | Permalink |

      lol this is funny…

      There are plenty of ways to skin a CAT.

      The bunch of tools don’t know how the population of the world works.

    11. Cameron Watt
      Posted 29/07/2011 at 11:41 pm | Permalink |

      “Why you would choose to threaten us in the ways you have chosen to do when we couldn’t possibly affect your clients in the ways a major carrier does can only be conjectured upon.”

      Weren’t you just saying, Mr Linton, that on the NBN all ISPs will be the same?

      Lie down with dogs and wake up with fleas… eh John?

      • R4z3rw33n
        Posted 31/07/2011 at 1:35 am | Permalink |

        Linton is likely alluding to the fact that all ISPs (assumed government bias/backroom dealings aside) will have equal access (in the sense that no ISP will act as both wholesale/service provider) to the network, and wholesale pricing.

        Which ever way you cut it, Exetel are a budget or ‘value’ ISP and, even if they’re plans are targeted toward high-volume users, Linton’s statement that larger industry players are (for lack of a better word) harbouring a higher percentage of potentially copyright ‘infringing’ users is completely reasonable.

        Based on this reasoning alone, it’s pretty obvious what’s occurring here. It might not be a revelation (chasing vulnerable targets for precedent), but it shouldn’t be tolerated.

    12. Marv
      Posted 29/07/2011 at 11:47 pm | Permalink |

      pretty simple just block all the IPs outside Australia, and record all the IPs that are connected to their torrent clients

      but seriously they should use their own resources and money to get their own jobs done not trying to make others wipe their asses for them

    13. Ian Gardiner
      Posted 30/07/2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink |

      If the content owners spent as much effort on making their content legally available via good quality streaming / download services as they did on stupid legal moves like this, everyone would be happier.
      Consumers have clearly shown that they want digital downloads as an option. Make this legal and people will pay. It’s not rocket science.

    14. snerd
      Posted 30/07/2011 at 10:15 am | Permalink |

      Typical rent-seeking business strategy.

      SILENCE. GIVE US MONEY.

    15. Peter
      Posted 30/07/2011 at 12:35 pm | Permalink |

      The more I read about AFACT the more I realise that they are just in it for the cash and at the end of the day, just themselves. I have long struggled to see their side of the story given the industries complete reluctance to move forward. I think those who compare them to a mafia outfit have pretty much hit the nail on the head. I’d love to know what gets said in these secret behind closed doors deals and what ‘offers’ are made.

    16. Posted 30/07/2011 at 1:00 pm | Permalink |

      I think I really learned from this site a lot of important information and hope this site will be more to do better.

    17. RDG
      Posted 30/07/2011 at 1:18 pm | Permalink |

      First ‘voluntary’ filtering, then AFACT filtering and then perhaps this:

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110729/03142715310/reports-claim-that-pakistan-is-trying-to-ban-encryption-under-telco-law.shtml

    18. Anonymous
      Posted 30/07/2011 at 1:24 pm | Permalink |

      “It has been estimated that over 1 billion searches are carried out daily by criminals searching P2P networks for sensitive and personal information stored on personal computers.” – http://www.afact.org.au/index.php/news/p2p_file_sharing_whats_illegal_whats_at_risk_how_to_stay_safe

      LoL – There’s so much wrong with the above statement, and I believe it fits the discussion.

      AFACT are hilarious.

    19. Sniper
      Posted 31/07/2011 at 10:59 am | Permalink |

      Guilty before proven innocent…. the lawyers & courts would have a field day with that.

    20. V for Vendetta
      Posted 31/07/2011 at 6:30 pm | Permalink |

      I love the way Linton shot his mouth off last year about iinet not complying with AFACT and in doing so he has now made himself a target for AFACT. I see he now sings a different, yet still arrogant, tune. Karma;s gonna get ya Johnny boy and you know what they say about payback.

    21. Delphian
      Posted 31/07/2011 at 10:32 pm | Permalink |

      Yes would be interested to see how the harvest the data to decide who to fine – and weather using a VPN Proxy ( google OpenVPN & Freedom ) to attach to the swarms on BitTorrent and have P2P encyption set to forced would do to there data gathering…

      • Posted 01/08/2011 at 12:31 am | Permalink |

        It would mean you wouldn’t get picked up in Australia but rather the IP you’re using (the one at the other end of the VPN) would be the one seen.

        If that happens to be the US then things might start to get interesting, especially since they are trying to implement (or maybe already have implemented) a 3 strikes rule. As soon as they track down the source is a VPN company they’ll be issuing warrants for your information, and since the US and Australia are close politically no doubt this will be passed on.

        But I wouldn’t expect a knock on the door from AFACT, I’m be more expecting one from the AFP, asking things like why are using a VPN for your sharing of illegal copyrighted material, and what else are you doing that requires yourself to be hidden?

        People who think using a VPN is making themselves safe are kidding themselves, it just makes it look like you’ve got something to hide.

      • toshP300
        Posted 01/08/2011 at 10:17 am | Permalink |

        there are plenty of comments on ExtraTorrent from users who have been DCMA’ed while torrenting via VPNs.

    22. Idontloot
      Posted 01/08/2011 at 1:05 am | Permalink |

      Sneakernet is just more convenient nowadays. With portables drives and USB sticks you could move alot more than via p2p.

      Just remember 6 degree of separation

      • 1984
        Posted 01/08/2011 at 8:22 am | Permalink |

        yeah i definitely trade far more material with mates then I do download.

    23. Delphian
      Posted 01/08/2011 at 3:34 pm | Permalink |

      Hmm not a us thing thankfully the vpn i use is located in Germany.




    Get our 'Best of the Week' newsletter on Fridays

    Just the most important stories, one email a week.

    Email address:


  • Most Popular Content

  • Enterprise IT stories

    • Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp facepalm2

      If you have even a skin deep awareness of the structure of Australia’s superannuation industry, you’ll be aware that much of the underlying infrastructure used by many of the nation’s major funds — AustralianSuper, CBus, HESTA and more — is provided by a centralised group, Superpartners. One of the group’s main projects in recent years has been to dramatically update and modernise its IT platform — its version of a core banking platform overhaul. Unfortunately, as was revealed in November, the $250 million project has not precisely been going well, and the Financial Review last week reported that Superpartners is actually close to turfing it altogether and going back to the drawing board.

    • Qld’s Grant joins analyst firm IBRS peter-grant

      This week it emerged that Peter Grant, the two-time former Queensland Whole of Government CIO (pictured), has joined well-regarded analyst firm Intelligent Business Research Services (IBRS). We’ve long had a high regard for IBRS, and so it’s fantastic to see such an experienced executive join its ranks.

    • Westpac dumps desk phones for Samsung Android mobiles samsung-galaxy-ace-3

      The era of troublesome desk phones tied to physical locations is gradually coming to an end in many workplaces, with mobile phones becoming increasingly popular as organisations’ main method of voice telecommunications. But some groups are more advanced than others when it comes to adoption of the trend. One of those is Westpac.

    • Ministers’ cloud approval lasted just a year reverse

      Remember how twelve months ago, the Federal Government released a new cloud computing security and privacy directive which required departments and agencies to explicitly acquire the approval of the Attorney-General and the relevant portfolio minister before government data containing private information could be stored in offshore facilities? Remember how the policy was strongly criticised by Microsoft, Government CIOs and Delimiter? Well, it looks like the policy is about to be reversed.

    • WA Govt can’t fund school IT upgrades oops key

      In news from The Department of Disturbing Facts, iTNews revealed late last week that Western Australia’s Department of Education has run out of money halfway through the deployment of new fundamental IT infrastructure to the state’s schools.

    • Turnbull outlines Govt ICT vision turnbull-5

      Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has published an extensive article arguing that the Federal Government needed to do a better job of connecting with Australians via digital channels and that public sector IT projects needn’t cost the huge amounts that some have in the past.

    • NZ Govt pushes hard into cloud zealand

      New Zealand’s national Government announced a whole of government contract this morning for what it terms ‘Office Productivity as a Service’ services. This includes email and calendaring services, as well as file-sharing, mobility, instant messaging and collaboration services. The contract complements two existing contracts — Desktop as a Service and Enterprise Content Management as a Service.

    • CommBank reveals Harte’s replacement whiteing

      The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has promoted an internal executive who joined the bank in September after a lengthy career at petroleum giant VP and IT services group Accenture to replace its outgoing chief information officer Michael Harte, who announced in early May that he would leave the bank.

    • Jeff Smith quits Suncorp for IBM jeffsmith4

      Second-tier Australian bank and financial services group Suncorp today announced that its long-serving top technology executive Jeff Smith would leave to take up a senior role with IBM in the United States, in an announcement which marks the end of an era for the nation’s banking IT sector.

    • Small business missing the mobile, social, cloud revolution iphone-stock

      Most companies that live and breathe the online revolution are not tech startups, but smart smaller firms that use online tools to run their core business better: to cut costs, reach customers and suppliers, innovate and get more control. Many others, however, are falling behind, according to a new Grattan Institute discussion paper.

  • Blog, Enterprise IT - Jul 5, 2014 13:53 - 0 Comments

    Super funds close to dumping $250m IT revamp

    More In Enterprise IT


    Blog, Telecommunications - Jul 5, 2014 12:12 - 0 Comments

    What should the ACCC’s role be in guiding infrastructure spending?

    More In Telecommunications


    Analysis, Industry, Internet - Jun 23, 2014 10:33 - 0 Comments

    ‘Google Schmoogle’ – how Yellow Pages got it so wrong

    More In Industry


    Blog, Digital Rights - Jun 30, 2014 22:24 - 0 Comments

    Will Netflix launch in Australia, or not?

    More In Digital Rights