The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft this afternoon said it took heart from the fact that one of the judges overseeing its appeal in its copyright infringement case against ISP iiNet had found for it, despite the fact that it ultimately lost the appeal in the end, two judges against one.
The Federal Court today dismissed an appeal by AFACT, following its loss against iiNet in a high-profile copyright infringement and internet content piracy case decided early in 2010, handing a second victory to the ISP in its battle against the organisation and its movie studio backers.
Speaking outside the court, AFACT executive director Neil Gane said copyright infringement was now going on “unabated” on the internet.
“This is a case where the ISP admitted to tens of thousands of copyright infringements on its network, but doesn’t have to lift a finger to prevent them,” he told journalists. “It cannot be right, that in effect, the ISP, who has the power to prevent copyright infringement online, and admitted they were taking place, does not share the respoinsibilty fro stoppping it.”
Gane said it was too early for AFACT to comment directly on the decision or whether AFACT would appeal the case again, a move which many expect it to take and which would send it and iiNet to a stand-off in the High Court. However, he said, there was a lot in the judgement to “take heart from”.
“We take heart … that Justice Jagot found for us, and that Justice Emmett said that we were successful on many grounds,” he said.
Gane also said the judgement today supported the idea that Australian copyright laws are currently out of touch with the state of technology being used.
“Outside of Australia, governments and courts around the world have understood, and have legislated, that there is a role for ISPs to play in combating rampant online infringement,” he said, noting that associated legislation had been passed in countries like the UK, France and Taiwan — and was going through the parliamentary process in New Zealand.
“Courts in Europe have mandated that ISPs must block access to well-known customer websites,” he added.
The executive also addressed the question of whether Australians were turning to illegal avenues to source content because of a perceived lack of availability of legal options for getting the latest music, movies and television in Australia, noting that he didn’t agree that Hollywood had been reluctant to make the content available in Australia online.
“There are currently 27 online business models which make not just our content, but other rights holders’ content available to the Australian public,” he said. “If you look at current businesses, there are many which do provide the latest movies online.”
Video credit: Marina Freri