Appeal won’t stop illegal downloads: iiNet


iiNet chief executive Michael Malone this afternoon rejected a renewed legal challenge by a coalition of film and TV studios as “disappointing and frustrating”, adding it would not stop illegal downloads of copyrighted material.

The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, representing a group of film and TV studios, this morning revealed it would appeal the Federal Court’s judgement against it in its long-running internet piracy case against iiNet.

In a statement, AFACT executive director Neil Gane said the judgement was “out of step with well-established copyright law in Australia”. However, Malone immediately returned fire this afternoon, claiming in a statement (PDF) that further legal proceedings were not a solution to the underlying problem.

“It is more than disappointing and frustrating that the studios have chosen this unproductive path,” he said in a statement. “This legal case has not stopped one illegal download, and further legal appeals will not stop piracy.”

Malone said customers were “crying out” to access the studios’ content, so much so that some were prepared to simply steal it.

The executive is proposing that the studios deal with iiNet on commercial terms to make the content available legally online, a technique he said the studios themselves had admitted during the court hearings was an effective way to combat piracy.

Malone pointed to the success of online video initiatives such as the Hulu internet television platform and iiNet’s own Freezone (where content is hosted which does not count towards users’ download quotas) in being able to stop online piracy.

“New approaches and models, like Hulu and Freezone, are the most effective solution to the problem,” Malone said. “We stand ready to work with the film and television industry to develop, implement and promote these new approaches and models.”

“We are ready to champion them in partnership with the studios, but court proceedings and more legal challenges only serve to delay this, and in the meantime more copyrighted material will be stolen,” he added.

Image credit: iiNet