Video: Trial verdict “a relief”, says Malone


iiNet chief executive Michael Malone (video, above) this afternoon said the Federal Court verdict in favour of his company was a relief after two years of a court case which cost the company about $6.5 million in legal costs.

The Federal Court today dismissed an appeal by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft 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.

Addressing the press after Judges Emmett and Jagot revealed their verdict, Malone said iiNet has never authorised or encouraged customer to breach copyrights laws. He said the issue would only be resolved by the Government stepping in and give more clarity to current regulations.

The executive maintained all the legal action taken hadn’t stopped one customer from downloading anything anywhere in Australia. He said the content should be made available legally and legitimately so that customers could get access to it, and authorities could police those who do not comply with the law. “We wasted two years now and it really hasn’t done anything to address this point,” he said. “iiNet’s costs [are] approximately $6.5 million.”

Malone added current copyright legislation need to adapt to new situations, as other European countries moved to update their own. “We’d say as it’s happening around the world, in other places like the UK and France, the only way to get clarity on this is if the Government steps in,” he said.

The iiNet chief said the ISP industry had come together and had a common view to not encourage customer to breach copyright laws. He said authorities should police those who authorise the download of protected material. Asked if technology could fix the problem, Malone maintained only the Government could solve the situation. “I don’t believe this is a technology problem, this is not going to be solved by technology means; this is a society problem,” he said.

Malone said the court case impacted on iiNet’s business as it had been very distracting, bringing expenses as high as $6.5 million.

“During the appeal — the appeal only lasted a few days — and then we have been sitting on our hands for the last six months, waiting for judgment,” he said. Malone concluded he didn’t know how much of its $6.5 million iiNet would be able to get refunded. He said in the first hearing the company had been awarded accounting costs but previous decisions could be reviewed on the next hearing on March 11th.

Video credit: Marina Freri


  1. I remember clearly, way back in 1994, when buying my first Internet Account (back when nobody had the faintest clue what you were talking about when you mentioned it), talking on the phone to a very polite and intelligent young man.

    That man’s name was Michael Malone, and he was running his startup ISP, iiNet (which was the only “Commercial” alternative to the paid service provided by the local University), pretty much out of his garage, with one other partner. They supported modem speed of up to 14.4kbaud, which impressed me since my modem was only 9600baud.

    He was genuine, polite, and passionate about the future of this technology, and even though “time is money”, he was kind enough to give me 45 minutes of his time to convince me of the benefit of going with his service. Of course, I did.

    Fast forward to seventeen years later, and watching this clip fills me with awe and inspiration. He has gone from that salesman in a garage, to one of the leading figures in Australian technology businesses, and his taking this fight to the highest court in the country was the RIGHT thing to do. Michael Malone, and iiNet were RIGHT to defend this lawsuit so vigorously, and it is RIGHT that the judges have ruled in their favor, rather than kowtow to an industry which is too greedy and backwards to embrace modern technology and actually give their customers an OPTION to access their content online legally, rather than continue to try and hold up existing monopolies and shakedown operations. Piracy is not caused by greed, piracy is caused by the fact that the film and recording industries make it close to impossible to access their content as cheaply and efficiently as it is to pirate their content online. The day those industries grasp that fact, is the day that they will realize there are more profits in selling their content online than they could ever dream of. The only reason they fight it is because there are legions of accountants, lawyers, and middlemen in their business who will be made irrelevant overnight should they embrace this strategy. They are protecting their monopoly – pure and simple.

    Go Michael Malone! Go iiNet!

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