High Court agrees to hear iiTrial

The High Court of Australia this morning granted film and television studios the right to appeal against the decision made earlier in the year in the case against Australian ISP iiNet.

The approval means the studios will have the opportunity to argue against the interpretation of the laws concerning copyright infringement by authorisation, rather than the facts of the case made against iiNet.

iiNet CEO Michael Malone said he wasn’t surprised by today’s decision, but called on the industry to come to a “workable” solution to piracy problems. “I know the Internet industry is eager to work with the film industry and copyright holders to develop a workable solution,” Malone said. “We remain committed to developing an industry solution that sees more content readily and cheaply available online as well as a sensible model for dealing with repeated copyright infringement activity.”

A group of 34 parties, comprised of most major Australian and American film studios, took iiNet to court in 2009 after claiming iiNet had “authorised” its users to download pirated movies and television over the Internet. After the original decision of not guilty made in February last year was appealed, the Australian Federal Court ruled in February this year that iiNet was not responsible for the illegal downloading.

However the parties against iiNet decided to attempt to appeal the decision yet again, lodging an application soon after on the 24th March with the High Court of Australia for a special leave to appeal grant.

The grant means that within the next 14 days, a notice of appeal must be filed with the High Court and sent to iiNet, otherwise the leave grant will lapse. iiNet is given the option to cross-appeal up to seven days after receiving the notice from the Studios. A lengthy number of legal procedures which must be undertaken and court sitting times mean it’s unlikely the court hearing will occur before the 25th October.

It could, however, stretch out until early December, with the next available sitting times after the 3rd of November not until the 29th of November. “We will continue to defend our position in these proceedings if necessary. I remain convinced that a genuine industry-wide solution is a better outcome for allconcerned and I’m hopeful it will be developed,” Malone said.

Image credit: Delimiter


  1. What will it take to make the film studios realise that their time is better spent enabling localised services similar to Netflix (hulu, etc) rather than wasting time with these ridiculous court cases.

    People just want easy access to content, if pirating is the easiest way for someone to view what they want to then that’s what they’ll do. Make it easy and legal, and the people will flock there.

    • Seeing a lot of this sort of attitude over in England at the moment. Why should I pay for these trainers if I can just throw a brick through a window and grab them?

      You wouldn’t shoot a policeman. And then steal his helmet. You wouldn’t go to the toilet in his helmet. And then send it to the policeman’s grieving widow. And then steal it again! Downloading films is stealing. If you do it, you will face the consequences.

      • Stealing deprives someone of the item stolen. When someone puts a brick through a window and takes a set of trainers, the original owner is deprived of the ability to use/sell those trainers.

        Copyright violation deprives the owner of what? The right to exclusively distribute the work in question. This is very different to theft and conflating the two is a tactic that the media industries have used to try and gain sympathy for their case.

        Copyright is, or was supposed to be, a limited and short term monopoly granted to the maker of the work to try and encourage them to produce more. It is a guarantee that society makes that in return for creativity, the author/originator will have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of exclusive distribution before the work returned to the public domain.

        Go and read some of the comments the drafters of that original copyright legislation made – about the danger of wrapping works up and keeping them out of the public domain. And that was with respect to limited terms of 7 years.

        Thanks to the greed of corporations, we have situations where copyright is now all-but perpetual. Australia, by dint of free trade agreements, has bought in to the US standards which have been extended several times under intense lobbying from groups such as Disney.

        Copyright has well and truly exceeded its original intentions. It can more truly be said to be theft in that it _does_ deprive the public domain.

        • That is utter rubbish and you are deluded. I pirate movies and it’s fairly obvious it is wrong. Sheesh.

        • Actually the FTA has not changed australian laws regarding copyright. The last copyright changes were brought about by the implementation of the TRIPS agreement which is an international policy from the WTO.
          Funnily enough these provisions imported by TRIPS lead to very little change in australian law as the TRIPS agreement set the minimums of protection for WTO member states. Why? This was because australian protection periods for copyright, patents, designs, trademarks, etc were the same as those dictated in TRIPS.

          US Copyright law calls for 90years+ protection for individual works; whereas australian copyright laws are significantly less. US copyright law also acknowledges protection of 125 years for works by a coroportation – australia does not acknowledge the works of a corporation rather the IP is invested in the individual.

          Further, copyright was never meant to be ‘limited’ in a short period of time. It was designed to provide protection for individuals to enjoy the benefits of their work for a long period so they could live off the work. The Limited protection periods more readily apply to Patents which are 5/10 years, and designs; so your argument is more applicable to those, not so much copyright.
          The difference however between the two (copyright v patents) is that a patent must be registered, unlike copyright which is granted as soon as a manifestation of the idea is produced.

      • I WOULD pay for the content, in fact I would be happy to, as it would stimulate further content creation. Unfortunately, the content I prefer is bound up in ludicrous regional arrangements that prevent me from willingly spending my money. Therefore, I obtain that content by any means possible. Since the copyright “owner” was not willing to provide me the content in the first place, they only “loss” they have incurred is of their own making.

      • Its the law, its the vibe, it moral, it is a right…


        Article 27.
        * (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

        • So Fang corporations extorting consumers with over-priced physical sales of media that is majorly delayed isn’t immoral?

        • if your going to quote human rights you might want to read a little bit about how the UN just ruled that disconnecting users was a violation of declared human rights.

          btw open source proves that even if you were to completely take away copyright protection you still have the ability to make money selling your content.

          Which means even if you struck down every copyright protection your human right would not be violated at all.

          You have the right to make money off your work even if everyone in the world is allowed to sell it too.

      • He wasn’t trying to justify stealing, just saying that people download movies because it’s easier at the moment.

        I used to download songs but then I started using iTunes, it’s fast, easy and the content is vast. So I now buy my songs.

        If a service like Hulu was available world wide and at the right price, I’m sure a lot of people who currently download movies illegally would use it.

  2. Why are they still trying to sue a company who has offered to work with them for a solution?

  3. I have no problem sending $3.00 for a new movie (less than 4 yrs old) to the copyright holder, and $1.50 for all others (to the (c) holder) … Would nt send anything more as thats all it is worth to me.
    Don’t get me started on music.. 90 cents per song to direct to the artist who can then send it on to the record company. Gee you say maybe he wouldnt send some or all to the EMI s of the world. funny about that. we trust the record company to do just that. but we dont trust the guy that actually sung and wrote it.
    My point is that its just to messed out the way it is. And know one wants to pay for some middle to upper management type to get anything that a singer songwriter produced. Who wants to pay for them to send their kids to private school..

  4. The way I’ve always seen it is that information is free by nature, and in order to secure information, it takes a great deal of work. Downloading movies, apps, whatever is not analogous to stealing and no amount of hype or propaganda will make this otherwise. If I see a Jaguar and I replicate it and drive it around, that’s my business. If I sell it to someone, and try to pass it off as a Jaguar, that’s unethical and illegal. That’s how IP is supposed to be applied. That is the sole reason for its existence. The fact that these industries have perversely applied these laws has stifled innovation, and allowed for patent trolls and other distasteful life forms to come about.
    It is the content creators responsibility to secure their data. They are blaming everyone else in the world for their problems. I can’t believe any court system would waste taxpayer money so corporate entities can protect their imaginary profits.
    Do not support them or their efforts.
    It would help if you didn’t download movies/music/apps you weren’t intending to possibly buy.

  5. @Douglas is so happy to mete out “consequences”, but the consequences are severe. When you hand out a sentence it should reflect the crime. Justice is about people of conscience modeling the behavior of people who care nothing for their fellow man. I cannot see listening to a song and not paying the .99 as a remorseless act requiring a felony record, 5 years in prison and $250,000 fine. When we allow Corporate desire (which is only about the bottom line by their own admission) to become adopted as our own view of Humankind, we have by definition become remorseless. Douggie if you think someone’s life should be forever ruined financially and their Rights stripped permanently because they listened to a song for free …you have a personality disorder.

    Dim bulbs like Douglas jump onboard the Righteous Train because it’s easy. His ilk are hunters of constant soft targets of self-righteousness. They are always saving kids, and swathing themselves in their nations flag with Jesus fish and yellow ribbons on their bumpers. Doing the right thing and doing the righteous thing are not the same. We need a new accord, a new Social agreement on digital properties. Not a soft target. Speaking to you with a conscience, it’s being decided now, and to quote _Sucker Punch_, “you have all the weapons you need, now *fight*!”

    Shout outs to all the good people of London who know that doesn’t include a free flat screen TV



    • Surely morality only exists as a mutual agreement between people? I promise to behave in a moral manner towards you on strict proviso that you also behave in a moral manner to me. Once one side or the other shows a consistent lack of morality, the agreement is off.

      Unfortunately for the people of London, their ruling class and government have clearly demonstrated they were first scuttle this agreement, so now morality is no longer mutual and thus it does not exist at all. The looters and rioters perfectly well understand this; so all bets are off, neither side has any remaining respect for the other.

      From here on in it just comes down to power. The underlings have greater numbers, while the rulers have the superior weapons and are typically better organised (although after the fiasco in Afghanistan, I have to question whether the ruling class really do know how to organise anything, or whether they are merely acting out a distant memory after forgetting what the words mean).

  6. Seriously, the money that the film studios have spent in this stupid court case would have been enough to make some sort of new store or subscription plan to allow us to legally purchase the movies (at a reasonable price). The problem is that they just dont understand why piracy occurs, and they dont understand how to fight it (despite numerous scientific studies showing the way the movie companies are handling things do not work). Its like they are a government…

  7. The thing is the first commenter had it right – I am grew up in the piracy generation.

    they missed the boat.

    They spent so much time suing luddite mums for millions over downloading a couple of 64kbit MP3’s that they allowed my generation to learn that piracy was easier, faster, cheaper, and faster release that purchasing legitimately. Now even if they do fix all the distribution and timeline problems i’m probably still going to pirate it.

    The very fact that they fought Apple when iTunes first came out over the pricing even though it’s been their biggest success goes to show how progressive the leadership is in that industry… idiots..

  8. If there was a service that I could pay a fixed amount for (say $30-$70 a month) that allowed me to legally download movies to watch (an unlimited amount during that period) I would literally never pirate something ever again!

  9. Being able to sell the same thing over and over for 100 years for almost the same price, sounds like a great scam.

  10. to paraphrase Princess Leia (which I “pirated’ the other day, not like i’m going to )

    “The more you tighten your grip, AFACT, the more consumers will slip through your grasp”.

    I come from a family heavily involved in the film and television industry. Directly responsible for making several films and I can say that piracy has not hurt they’re capacity to make films nor their earnings. Being in the biz we are friends with many people who create material and I can say several things, one they all download/pirate films and love going to Bali and places like that coming back loaded with pirated DVDs (sometimes of their friends material). Two for the most part their lives are not dominated by the ills of those millions/zillions of people out there downloading.

    The industry plods along and has far bigger issues then piracy. Things like labour costs and taxs breaks are what drive the industry. The distribution deals they have with the networks are more then enough. remember most shows are produced for the overseas markets. Your basically selling your material to dozens of countries/cable networks. Each paying 5-6 figures for a season (or more).

    Its the publishers that stand to lose the most. Not that piracy has stopped them. If anything when I walk in to JB I noticed dozens of titles from the 60s and 70s that were worthless in the 90s and now are seeing a huge resurgance as people download a bit online only to find it incomplete.

    Take Monkey Magic. Whomever ‘owns’ the rights to distribute that must be rollin in it. $30 per DVD. Cost to produce $1. They would have sound tens of thousands by now.

    Yet I’m sure said publisher is a member of AFACT and is complaining black and blue about how piracy is destroying their livelihood. My ass it is is.

    Its the publishers with their a few of their highest paid stooges (oh i mean clients) that pushing AFACT. They are the ones who stand to lose the most in a new world where the Copyright Act is amended to be fair and reasonable instead of its current state where the crimes for downloading a single film or music track exceed that of the fine for rape and murder.

    The shrill’s in this thread are either taken in by the propaganda or being paid to sprout it, or else have a moral sense that borders on the mentally ill.

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