iiNet wins video piracy trial


Update: A comprehensive overview of the judgement can be found here.

Australian ISP iiNet was today announced as the victor in its long-running defence against a lawsuit by major film and TV studios represented by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).

Justice Cowdroy announced the verdict to a packed courtroom in Sydney today.

The studios first dragged iiNet into the Federal Court back in November 2008, arguing that the ISP infinged copyright by failing to take reasonable steps — including enforcing its own terms and conditions — to prevent customers copying films and TV shows over its network.

iiNet CEO Michael Malone (pictured) was among many to take the witness stand at the trial.

The action was filed by Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Disney Enterprises and the Seven Network (Australian licensee of some of the infringed works).

The trial has been viewed by Australia’s ISP industry as a major landmark case to help determine how ISPs will react in future to users using their networks to download copyrighted material. iiNet had not been forwarding email communication from AFACT to users who AFACT had alleged had breached copyright, whereas some other ISPs have been complying with the request.

More information on the verdict to follow.

Image credit: iiNet


  1. Hell yea!

    about time the movie/music industry get told to do their own damn work. yes this will be appealed etc, but iinet now have the momentum and it will be harder for afact to overturn this.

    one big clear message to all the US film studio's: do your own damn dirty work we will not be your puppets!

      • great news. Between this and iinet's opposition to Conroy's stupid filter, iinet has a customer in me for life. I'd rather pay slightly more for slightly less bandwidth to be with a reliable company that actually cares about its customers and stands up to money grubbing industry dickheads. Those ISPs that support filtering and cave to the **IA can go to hell.

  2. Common sense prevails. The Sooner the Film industry embraces New technology and looks for ways to leverage off it the better. They just waste their money and the Courts time with actions such as those just completed

    • Unimpressed, you are a tad recalcitrant as its a no brainer what IINET won,

      I main deal is, you cant disconnect someone without first due process.

  3. I am thrilled to hear this. Truely a win for common sense. And another loss for those who abuse what the copyright system is there for. Good to see democracy working as it should tho these "trolls" should never get to court in the first place.

  4. Unimpressed, Why does iinet have to take up the financial burdon of investigating it's users when it has no responsibility to enforce the copyrights of others? (who I might add, can very easily afford to enforce there own, its there copyrights so its there job yes?) What has AFACT done to help other than sue the pants off them and loose? Why does the public hate AFACT and give them zero support?

  5. This is a good day for civil rights and freedom of the Internet. How refreshing to see a courageous and independent judgment by Cowdroy against the might of Hollywood giants. While I understand the film and music industry's torment, I have no sympathy for their tactics and for holding a small ISP to ransom in an uneven legal battle.

    Perhaps this can serve as yet another wake up call to those (including Conroy and the Rudd government) that still dream of controlling the Internet and wish to curb its potential as the most effective tool to enforce civil liberties and protect democracy in 21st century.

  6. hurray for common sense and well done iinet and michael malone for sticking to your principles.


  7. Congratulations to iiNet and their financial and legal supporters. I hope them yanks leave us alone now. The yanks should've starting this action against THEIR ISPs and not someone else's.

  8. I know this is only the first battle, but I'm extremely happy with the outcome so far.

    The film studios need to realise there is already a process for filing copyright complaints against those who share illegal material – and that it's there to protect privacy and uphold the ideal of innocent until proven guilty.

    If they want to prosecute people then they can do it properly and legally like everyone else has to.

  9. A great result, certainly not what I expected. Next step towards Net Neutrality is to destroy this FAIL firewall the Australian LABOUR Government is trying to impose!

  10. What the issue was IINET was not following Complaints made by AFACT.

    If a complaint has been made IINET must then investigate and then take action. IINET was in my opinion condoning its users to ignore Copyright Law.

    All I hope now AFACT instead of making this complaint direct to IINET, NOW I can see AFACT will not take direct Action though in fact get the federal Police Involved for Every Complaint as they have more authority over IINET.

    Federal Police will be able to trace data from Illegal Sites and if traced back to IINET servers I hope they go and pull all IINET DNS Servers to get the information.

    Its similar to Child Porn Sites. Police can trace who went to a particular site and downloaded the offending position.

    ALL i can say is this will be appealed.

  11. Yes, common sense at last. The film industry getting too powerful. Too rich, ridiculously rich.

  12. Unimpressed = DO you work for AFACT? Typical response from someone who really has no idea on the law, privacy policies, etc.

    one UNIMPRESSED idiot is just that – ONE lonely one!

  13. That's bloody awesome!

    As a long term iiNet user (and having once worked there at the turn of the century) I was worried, not that iiNet were in the right, but that J. Cowdrey would just not "get it".

    iiNet is a great company that is a leader in promoting the good side of the Internet. They're a founding member of the Western Australian Internet Association (Inc.) and almost single-handedly developed the WA Internet eXchange network.

    They have a sound understanding of Corporate Social Responsibility and actually do it. iiNet is a good corporate and Internet "citizen".

  14. Unimpressed – why dont AFACT sue Australia Post, as people are sure to send DVD/HDD through the post. Hell why we're at it why not sue Car/Turck Manufacturers for producing a means to deliver said mail.

    Hell why not sure the electricity suppliers for supplying the electricity that made the copying possible in the first place.

    Unimpressed – NOT US!! (That is the MAJORITY)

  15. Great news for iinet !

    The action was stupid – it's like holding car manufactuers responsible for f-wit hoon drivers.

    A victory for common sense, ever diminishing in the modern world.

  16. Excellent! I had a feeling when I met some iinet reps back at the technology show before they were fulling migrated and established in NSW that they were of decent and intelligent forward thinking technologists.

    I'm also proud for them, that they didn't stand down and be bullied by the corporations attempting to bend the laws of privacy to meet their continually incrementing profits.

    iiNet, you have made the right decision and you are now part of Australian tech and law history forever.

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