US-style mass piracy lawsuits come to Australia


news Thought AFACT was the only game in town when it came to enforcing copyright in Australia? Think again. Another front has opened up in content holders’ war on file sharing, with a new and separate firm named ‘Movie Rights Group’ proposing to engage in mass legal action against thousands of individual Australians who have allegedly pirated content in the past 12 months.

The company’s existence first came to light today as a result of a blog post published this week by John Linton, the chief executive of national broadband provider Exetel. Linton noted that US film distributor Lightning Entertainment had contacted his company with a list of 150 IP addresses, seeking the details of the equivalent 150 Exetel customers who had allegedly downloaded the film ‘Kill the Irishman’, which was released this year. Exetel’s 150 were just a fraction of the 9,000-odd Australians which the company claimed had pirated Kill the Irishman, and whom it is pursuing.

Following Linton’s post, Delimiter has confirmed that Lightning is being represented in Australia on the matter by a new company called ‘Movie Rights Group’. It is unclear who precisely is behind the company, but it was registered as a Queensland-headquartered private company in November 2010, with its only known executive so far being its vice president of sales and marketing Gordon Walker.

Speaking in an interview this afternoon, Walker said his company had nothing to do with the other prominent group representing film and TV studios in Australia, the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, which is currently engaged in controversial legal action with ISP iiNet in the High Court over copyright infringement issues. Movie Rights Group had not been in contact with AFACT, Walker said.

However, like AFACT, Movie Rights Group has started contacting Australian ISPs in respect to the behaviour of their users.

Walker confirmed the company had contacted all major ISPs in Australia seeking information on users who had allegedly infringed copyright online, with Kill the Irishman being just one of the films which the company was tracking and Lightning being just one of the clients which the company is representing locally. The company’s requests appear to be targeting a large number of Australians, with some 9,000 locals alleged to have downloaded Kill the Irishman alone.

Walker said once the company had received information from the ISPs on which user accounts were connected to the IP addresses who had allegedly infringed his clients’ copyright, Movie Rights Group would be sending letters to those users through its law firm, Brisbane-based Lloyds Solicitors, giving them a choice between various options they could pursue.

The executive wouldn’t say what those options were – although he recommended those who received the letters to seek legal advice. In addition, Movie Rights Group’s web site has a prominent notice informing visitors that one of its chief services is settling lawsuits with infringing users. “We intend enforcing our copyright owners’ rights in Australia through the Federal Magistrates’ Court,” said Walker.

If the company is seeking to settle cases of alleged copyright infringement with Australians out of court, it will be one of the first cases where this approach has been taken in Australia. So far in Australia, most legal action aimed at those who infringe copyright has focused on ISPs such as iiNet who provide the mechanism – Internet access – for it to take place.

However, in the US, for example, the practice is widespread, with the Recording Industry Association of America, for example, launching an early settlement program in 2007 which targeted thousands of users with offers to settle cases of copyright infringement. According to Arstechnica, the average amount being settled was about $3,000 at the time.

Walker wouldn’t answer what his company considered the value of damage an individual Internet pirate who downloaded a film for their own personal use was. However, he pointed out that anyone using the BitTorrent protocol, due to the restrictions of the protocol, was simultaneously downloading content as well as uploading it to other users.

It seems inevitable that if Movie Rights Group is successful in persuading – through the courts or otherwise – Australian ISPs to give up information on their users, that copies of its letters to users will be posted on sites such as broadband forum Whirlpool, fully disclosing the company’s approach. However, Walker said if that publication of what he described as confidential material occurred, that was an issue which Movie Rights Group would have to take up with the individual concerned.

And it does seem likely that at least some ISPs will provide the company with the information it needs to target users.

Although Exetel’s Linton has not yet disclosed what his company’s approach to Movie Rights Group’s approach will be, in his blog post this week, the executive noted that his own company’s lawyer had accepted that it was “almost certainly the case under standard commercial Australian law” that Movie Rights Group could legally subpoena the users’ information it needs. “They will review the cited references but their opinion is that, subject to final validation, if a subpoena is issued then no company, Exetel or any other ISP has any option but to comply with it,” wrote Linton.

“The information we’ll have on the downloading activity is 100 percent cogent and unequivocable evidence,” said Walker, noting Movie Rights Group had conducted extensive legal research before commencing its operations.

It is believed that Move Rights Group’s approach to ISPs is deeply informed by the initial judgements in iiNet’s fight against AFACT. Although iiNet successfully defended the trial and its appeal, a number of commenters believed the judgement did open the door for the film industry to achieve more success through approaching ISPs with a modified approach. For example, industry sources said Movie Rights Group will carefully target those it sends letters to — excluding public locations such as schools and libraries from its efforts — and even offer to compensate ISPs for the time it will take them to retrieve user details.

The wider problem
A widely held view in Australia is that the poor availability of legal online content locally – compared with countries such as the US – and the delay it takes for the latest television shows and movies to arrive in Australia is a major contributing factor to the nation’s high degrees of online piracy. The Federal Government seeking to arbitrate an agreement between the content and ISP industries over the matter.

Walker said he wasn’t sure whether Kill the Irishman was available through legal online channels in Australia such as Telstra’s T-Box platform, although he noted you could have seen the film in cinemas, and it was available for rent or purchase on DVD. However, the executive defended Movie Rights Group’s approach by stating that the issue of online copyright infringement was one which hadn’t been dealt with well globally by governments.

“Other jurisdictions around the world have attempted to legislate and police illegal downloading. Has it worked? No,” he said. The UK, Walker pointed out, had set up a parliamentary investigation into the area half a decade ago. “They had a series of meetings and more meetings and sub-committees and what have you,” he said. “The outcome of all of those committees and sub-committees was absolutely nothing. Trying to control the Internet is like trying to control the [Japanese] tsunami which hit those poor people.”

For example, Walker said, in the case of Wikileaks, government attempts to force the maverick organisation to take down its content had simply resulted in many mirror sites popping up instantly all over the world to keep the content available. “Everybody knows that the Internet is the ultimate unkillable beast,” he said.

In this context, Movie Rights Group was “a commercial solution” to what had previously been seen as a legislative problem, Walker said. Service providers themselves weren’t the infringing parties — but merely provided the “road” of the Internet, which most people drove on safely, but there were always some who “wanted to drive up the inside land, drive down the breakdown lane and drive at 200Km/hour.”

“You’ve got to have policemen and women in cars,” Walker said. “This is where we see our role.”

And just who is Movie Rights Group? Walker wouldn’t say who was behind the company, but he did note everyone involved was Australian, although it also had operations and legal representation in the US and Europe. The parties behind the group had been in the Internet business for about 16 years, he said, in areas such as hosting and affiliate marketing programs. The copyright infringement program was “a new direction” for those parties, Walker said.

Ultimately, it remains unclear what the reaction from Australian ISPs and end users will be to Movie Rights Group’s activities. The area in which it is operating is a dynamic one, with the iiNet versus AFACT trial still underway and the Federal Government’s Department of the Attorney-General also very active in discussing the issue with the industry.

However, there appears no doubt that some impact will be felt. “If this group launch 9,000 individual lawsuits against Australian Internet users in the not too distant future I think a lot of attitudes to illegal downloading will change … if only by parents,” wrote Exetel’s John Linton this week.


  1. Linton noted that US film distributor Lightning Entertainment had contacted his company with a list of 150 IP addresses, seeking the details of the equivalent 150 Exetel customers who had allegedly downloaded the film ‘Kill the Irishman’, which was released this year.

    This is exactly the same approach as what AFACT used, I’m a bit bewildered as to why this group thinks they’ll get the information from ISPs when AFACT has already failed in the courts in the case against iiNet.

    • Actually I believe the approach is quite different — from what I understand Movie Rights Group’s approach is very different and cognizant of the early judgements in the iiNet case.

        • There’s a great deal of info here:

          Basically in that case, AFACT was seeking to have its copyright infringement notices forwarded on by iiNet to users. Instead, iiNet sent them to the police, in bulk. Consequently, AFACT took iiNet to court for copyright infringement.

          Movie Rights Group is not seeking to send users copyright infringement notices through ISPs. Instead, it is very simply and clearly seeking to subpoena ISPs, under legal discovery laws, for information on users that it will then use to approach the users directly. It will, I believe, then take the users to court itself if they do not settle with it. And, I am guessing, it will subpoena the ISPs in a way that is along the exact same lines that the dissenting judge in the iiNet vs AFACT trial suggested.

          This is a direct and very smart evolution of the iiNet vs AFACT case. I am betting many ISP lawyers are right now considering this one very carefully.

          • Ultimately it’s the same info though, only difference being a legal process is being followed here.

            The cost issue (with relation to time spent recovering details requested as part of the subpoena) still exists though, and I doubt ISPs are going to want to pay for that if they start receiving 100’s or more subpoenas.

            But regardless, it’s disappointing to see something like this when there is already discussions in progress between the industry and ISPs to come up with a workable solution.

          • It’s exactly the same thing some US companies are doing in the USA right now, 1 company has tried to subpoena over 25,000 another is around 35,000 people or IP accounts in bulk in a dodgy format and up till this year these sorts of cases in USA have pretty much been granted by a judge, but these grants have been for cases below 20,000 IP accounts.

            Some judges are now starting to ask how this company who aren’t a copyright holder nor do they have legally binding contracts to be a copyright holder on the movies in question, how they got the IPs in the first place, and why they are even grabbing them if they aren’t a copyright holder, and both cases have been thrown out as being a waste of time for the courts.

            I see the hurt locker case of suing 24,000+ people by the same company has had 22,000 people knocked out but the suing company is having problems with the rest of the people as the ISP is sending out letter and people are ending letter back to the ISP who having to send them letters back again and those people have to then send a letter to a court etc, and they only have 120 days to file the while case other wise it fall apart.

            The companies who bulk sue on behalf of movie companies only do it because it’s a income stream, it’s not really about stopping piracy at all, but to keep it going to to garner cash out of people.

            It’s not smart and it’s a poor way of doing it as once you have the people’s details you then start sending out letter to those people for the cash or we’ll sue you.

            And we have all seen how well they worked in the USA, but Australia has completely different laws and stuff so I can’t really see this working here.

            All this stuff it just to simply by pass the courts completely and how many judges would like that as that is something the judge also said which these companies can not do in the USA at least.

            So the tide is starting to turn, as you can only chew up court time and sue so many people before the courts cotton on to being screwed around with.

          • more likely they won’t actually take users to court, but will scare them into paying them money to “fix” the problem.


          • Calling a 9 yr olds MOTHER (because they are the account holder) and telling them if they don’t cough up *thousands of dollars* they’ll be taken to court for hundreds-of-thousands is NOT about fair legal representation, justice, and innocent-until-proven-guilty.This methodology sounds like what used to be called a “shakedown”.

  2. What makes the approach of Movie Rights Group different to that of former company ACS:LAW (former UK organization that operated very similar to MRG)?


    What do Movie Rights Group gain from these settlements they intend to send to alleged copyright infringers?

    How will these letters not be viewed as extortion of their recipients of them?

    I doubt not that these (IMHO extortionate) letters will be sent to innocent parties (an IP address is not a person – IP spoofing [ ] and fake IP addresses injected in torrent announce servers/swarms [torrent swarm poisoning – ] for but two out of many technologies that can land innocent people in hot water) encouraging them to pay up a set amount as opposed to a far greater amount (wasting limited and valuable court time better spent not defending these distributors profiteering off the backs of content creators) to prove their innocence (I’m not a lawyer but civil cases have a lower burden of proof which makes defending your innocence much more difficult than that we see in criminal cases).

    OTOH if they really want to make an issue of it, why not make it a criminal offense instead:

    FYI: I don’t use torrents however I feel things have gone way too far with this war on copyright. All this action to stifle the internet over a dinosaur industry is really all for nothing (except maybe censorship, being able to stop a file being shared will affect ALL files, copyrighted or otherwise). Times have changed and the industry should adapt or die (Rick Falkvinge put it best – Nobody Asked For A Refrigerator Fee: ) so we could get back to tackling much more important issues (like curing cancer).

  3. “Everybody knows that the Internet is the ultimate unkillable beast,” he said.

    Cool !

  4. Did the ISPs involved notify their users of the request for information & afford them an opportunity to challenge the request? Or, did they simply rollover and hand over user data?

    • If they receive a subpoena for the user information then it’s not just rolling over, it’s been through a legal process to reach that stage and it is a legal request for the information, an ISP refusing to provide it can themselves be fined/employees face jail time in that situation.

      Whether the ISP advises the customer would be up to the ISP, and the wording of the subpoena.

      • And so, did any of these ISPs do the right thing and inform their customers — whether legally required to, or not?

        I think this is an important question that the ISPs in question should address.

        • Well that is what iiNEt have been saying these companies need to follow the correct law procedure by going to the police and then having them do up a report and then see about suing people thereafter.

          These companies don’t want to do that and expect to send any ISP a letter simply demanding details of anyone’s account and have them send that info to them directly without going to the police about it.

          AFACT don’t want stuff going to the police nor going to the courts either, the courts are saying AFACT you’ll have to goto the police and the courts thereafter but they don’t like that so keep appealing till they get what they want which is to be able to send people scam letters

        • It would not surprise me if the wording of the subpoena is that the ISP cannot inform the end user, and the ISP doing so would be illegal.

          This isn’t something the ISPs need to address.

  5. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say is all this cracking down on people downloading copyrighted material the same as the US war on drugs, ie. both are futile and achieve nothing to stop what they claim to be aiming to achieve.

    If they really want to stop copyright infringements they need to go after the people who are putting the files up in the first place.

    • @Terry: They do take down the ones who put it up in the first pace:

      However, that simply does not excuse others from participating. This argument is simply a deflection for people who think the issue is not theirs because they didn’t put it online originally – and legally has no weight.

      They need to endeavour to prevent it getting online in the first place – which is done through watermarks, encryption (DRM – which then everyone complains about) and enforcement and litigation against those who put it online in the first place – but surely the discouragement of users who actively participate in the infringement is also fair game?

      @Renai: Can an ISP legally hand over the details of a user without a court order? In this instance, the court in Roadshow vs iiNet did not make a determination as it was not part of the case as AFACT never requested the personal information. Further, my understanding is that it would be in breach of numerous Telco/Privacy laws. If this is the case – This means that identified parties would be named (and shamed) in court on public record, the ISP would have to be joined to the case in order to provide the subpoenaed information and then MRG could start civil action against the individual (household).

      Personally, I’d rather receive a notice from an ISP than a letter from a lawyer after being named in court.

      • Renai doesn’t have the information you seek. All he has is sensationalist headlines and lots of guesswork.

      • With the right information a court will hand down such an order.

        What will be interesting is if they can get the orders in the way they do in the US.

        In the US, as I understand it (IANAL Don’t really know anything etc etc), they would bring a case against several hundred (or thousand?) “John Does” at the same time to a judge for an ISP, saying: “We want a court order to find out who these people are so we can sue them!!” The court would say: “Yep ok, heres your court order go get their names”

        They would then send the court order to the ISPs, who would hand over the names and addresses of the customers.

        The RIAA/MPAA would then drop the case against the hundreds of John Does.

        (See what they did there? Saved court costs and then just dropped the case!)

        They would then send individualised bills to the people for ~3000 dollars that they got the names of saying: “Pay us, or we will sue you like we sued jammie thomas for 1 billion dollars, and SHE was a single mother, do YOU look that sympathetic?”. (about a million tonnes of poetic license taken by me there)

        In Australia, I hope to god that if they let them do this once (bring the case to court as the copyright people vs 9000 people) and then drop it once they get the names they were seeking, that it won’t happen again. Those 9000 people are going to get their bills in the mail. I *Hope* no more will suffer the exact same fate.

        Though; the other side of the coin? If they cant save court-costs, the cost of the bill you finally receive won’t be 3000 dollars, it will be 10,000 dollars. Less people will pay it up front, but that just means more people go to court.

      • So they’ve caught one group? Great, good for them.

        However, that simply does not excuse others from participating. This argument is simply a deflection for people who think the issue is not theirs because they didn’t put it online originally – and legally has no weight.

        It’s not a deflection, nor is it an excuse. But the simple fact is, if the files weren’t available to be shared in the first place, then no-one would be sharing them at all anyway. By not making these groups the number one priority and instead targeting the people doing the downloading it’s pretty clear what the media companies want to do is sue the people doing the downloading because that is where they are going to make money. If they go after the supplier all they get from them is a jail term.

        Argue it all you want but really having the supplier of these files still supplying them is good for the media companies as it means they’ll have the people downloading them to sue, and the reason they are pressing to get it formalised in Australia for ISPs to distribute these infringement notices (or obtain account holder information from ISPs) is so they can have more people to sue.

  6. “but he did note everyone involved was Australian,”
    Seems very UN-Australian to me!

  7. There has been interesting court decisions in the US against Rights Haven, a body doing similar copyright claims against individuals.

    “Nevada courts all ruled against Righthaven, saying that the company had no standing to sue, because it did not actually hold the copyright. “ (TechDirt)

    Of course IANAL and this is in relation to US law, but would a similar thing apply here?

    • Usually the actual court cases are done by legal counsel representing the actual studios involved. So as an example, using righthavens name.

      Righthaven would sue a downloader, but on the docket as the plaintiff would also be the Lightning movie studio.

      I think the actual problem with Righthaven was that they were suing without the original content owner being involved. (I think Righthaven bought an exclusive license – not for the content, but for the right to sue regarding the content, a very odd license). Righthaven was a very strange case.

      • Also, IANAL! (despite my lack of “I think’s and Maybes” that really should be in the post above.)

  8. All aboard the World Government, next stop loosing your sovereignty in your own country!

    • So a company using the legal system of a country is suddenly loss of ‘sovereingty’?

      Isn’t one of the key idea’s about sovereignty the ability to make and enforce a legal system?

      Troll harder.

      • It depends, I think “Piracy” has little to do with the issue here, it’s how the information is obtained even in the public space. Has these companies any guidelines? for example.

        Since when private investigators or private firms have higher place than police/military investigators?

        Why are these companies are not held accountable when the right holders don’t change the business strategies? why should our courts be filled up with “patent” or “ip” theft related cases when more important court cases such as murder need to be.

        • That’s a better troll, but still as unfounded.

          We as a people have made certain laws (e.g. Copyright).

          We have put in place a legal system to handle this.

          Unless you honestly want to say this is some 3rd world dictatorship where the legal system is so dysfunctional murders walk free simply because we don’t have enough judges…

          Can you make a legitimate argument without insulting Australia?

  9. It looks as though MRG are using the existing legal framework. Much as Telecommunications companies have been suggesting since at least 2005 when the AUSFTA was put in place.

    Today, a rights holder can show the magistrates’ court what evidence they have, request what’s called a ‘preliminary discovery’ order and the court decides whether or not to grant it. (See also Federal Court Rule 15)

    If it’s granted, it’s served by the rights holder on the ISP, to hand over the missing name and address details. We’ve said publicly we would cooperate with this existing process, provided for by existing legislation, without any legal battles required.

    The intermediary or ISP is then removed from the process, and the argument is between the alleged infringer and the rights holder, or its agent.

    One thing that’s changed from the former US-style prosecutions is the quality of the evidence. iiNet has obviously had a good look at the way the evidence is gathered through the court case. I would suggest you’d have to have a pretty good argument if you got targeted through this approach.

    • Hi Steve

      how pervasive is torrenting in Australia exactly? of the 5mln+ broadband subscribers, what percentage of the subscriber population would have downloaded an illegal torrent in the past 12 mths? does iiNet have any reliable internal estimates? 1 in 500? 1 in 250? 1 in 50?

      • I don’t have any numbers to quote. Rights holders claim that it is very pervasive.

        But this isn’t about downloading – it’s about uploading/sharing/making available.

        Having a legally obtained copy is not the point. If you infringe copyright by making copies of it available online, without permission, the legal copy probably makes no difference.

        • but the nature of the BitTorrent technology is that every connected peer is downloading and uploading at the same time. and the professional litigators in the US, including MRG in Australia, are clearly adopting a scattergun approach of targeting everyone and not just the active seeders who are passively uploading portions of the file or “making available”.

          so, even if you are connected to the swarm for 30mins as a peer downloader/uploader and automatically disconnect upon file completion, these commercial litigators are still gunning for your IP (even though you may have only uploaded 10Mb of a 7Gb file). they are trawling a huge net over the population of active torrenters. the question is how large is that population in Australia.

    • So if you’re an iiNet customer, you’ve just seen iiNet’s attitude basically go from “we’ll never issue warnings for downloading – do what you want” to “we’re going to hand your details over to the first copyright troll that comes along”. … how can things change so quickly?

    • “iiNet has obviously had a good look at the way the evidence is gathered through the court case. I would suggest you’d have to have a pretty good argument if you got targeted through this approach.” – Care to elaborate on this statement?

  10. The “B” Plan.

    As any Movie Producer will tell you, “it’s all in the distribution”.
    Some movies are going to fail.
    According to Box Office Mojo (

    Domestic Summary
    Opening Weekend: $145,430
    (#31 rank, 5 theaters, $29,086 average)
    % of Total Gross: 12.2%
    Production Budget: N/A

    After 16 weeks only 1.1 million gross.

    The weekly % looks like the slide at the local kids playground.

    I would say the producers are desperate to find justification for their investors as to why the movie didn’t make money.

    According to the ABS, Exetel is a medium sized ISP. Based on a pro-rata basis if 150 Exetel customers downloaded the movie, then approximately an additional 11,000 person downloaded via Bigpond and 19,000 Australia wide.

    The Mojo figures at $8.00 seat price indicate that only 148,524 persons attended the cinema to view the movie.

    If we added another $8.00 per Aussie downloader, the movie still would only have grossed $1,340,194 and still be classified as a tax loss.
    Some movies bomb, regardless of the cameos.

    In this instance, it would seem the ego of the producers is desperate to find a guilty party other than themselves.

    A shame that our legal system will be abused by this process.
    I think the courts need to be aware that file sharing is not always the real reason consumers are sued, however now that Australia has signed ACTA, it makes for a damn fine convenient excuse and of course the courts will want to be seen in compliance with the spirit of ACTA.

    Mr. Walker has chosen his timing well to instigate an apparently smart business model.
    Time will tell whether he is on the money or merely totally misguided.

      • In the USA. The Mojo stats I quoted above were USA first 16 week results, ergo, US ticket prices.

  11. Just tell these greedy monsters your running a TOR server and you are only a Conduit, or you didn’t have your WPA setup on your WI FI and asks whats your proof beside an IP Address?or you can tell them to F**k OFF cya in court I’m counter sue them for emotional distress

  12. Lets reverse the situation here, who stands to gain from all this if successful at all – a lot of lawyers, legal professionals (that’s a deliberate oxymoron), and some executives, all being pushed by greed when they have no right to tell an ISP what to do about piracy. The ISP’s are not the Police and they should not be used / abused to be Police. The ISP merely provides the link to the Internet, but from there on in, is OUTSIDE the ISP’s control. In Queensland, legally we are not part of the Commonwealth since the Brigalow Corporation’s Act was illegally passed which made Queensland separate to the Commonwealth – therefore any Commonwealth Copyright laws are not applicable in Queensland.

    Additionally, as anyone actually decided to educate themselves and read how Copyright was established and how it originated? Its original design was to allow free exchange of information / ideas at no cost to anyone and not controlled by any Corporation / Entity / Company – but this 400 year old history has been kept quiet, so others can profiteer from the lies of the industry. The industry has tried to keep the origins of copyright hidden to keep their agenda going. Im sick to death of the same old “losing money” bullshit – always crying poor mouth no matter how much money is made on music / movies. This is all about the control of content / media, and they are terrified if they lose control of these markets their wallets and others will be a lot lighter.

    As an education, everyone should read this worthwhile information – the History of Copyright – note the Stationers of England are todays AFACT etc – enjoy the reading here:

  13. People should go for the entertainment industry for flooding our TV sets with such crap and I won’t get started with the music industry.

  14. Just me, or does anyone else think that groups such as this “MRG” do not have the “protection of the movie industry” as their main motivator?

    “The parties behind the group had been in the Internet business for about 16 years, he said, in areas such as hosting and affiliate marketing programs. The copyright infringement program was “a new direction” for those parties, Walker said.”

    Sounds like a bunch of domain squatters and failed hosting resellers simply looking to continue leaching loose change off the internet to me.

  15. “You’ve got to have policemen and women in cars,” Walker said. “This is where we see our role.”

    What? They think they are the police? Does anyone else see a private company thinking they are the police as being a huge major problem?

    • Perhaps they see themselves as the Blackwater Xe Services answer to the film music industry. “Your staff are too busy, let us take care of those pesky bit torrenters – FOR A CUT”. As I mentioned, that sort of business model seems like something that domain squatters and failed hosting resellers – companies usually staffed by human trash – would definitely dream up.

      That quote from Gordon Walker is an extremely poor analogy though. It also isn’t very conducive to gaining trust from the IT sector that they’ll do the right thing as well. But saying that, the “legal right thing” in this area is usually pretty far removed from the “moral right thing” I guess, especially when you hear from the U.S about individuals being sued for millions because of one mp3 file.

  16. I don’t think that this will work in Oz.
    The US uses a user pay system and a high bar to recover costs from the other party.
    In Oz if you continue into litigation, the looser pays.
    All it takes is a few defendants you claim emotional distress and sue to the max.
    As a generalisation, most juries could be sympathetic so MRG will be up for all the court costs including the defendants lawyer fees.

  17. I admit I do not bother with the mass Music/ Movie ‘junk” any more. It has become predictable and I am bored stupid by all the hidden (poorly) political agendas in it and the lack of enjoyability. It is rare something comes along worth the time and the effort (and expense) against the wonders of the real world and all you can do in it.
    I am also starting to laugh at the death throws of the old sytle Copywrite Acts, that were written end enforced in law, at great costs in political bribery over the decades of the later half of the 20th Century. Along came the Internet and there was no cheap way to “extort” by fear of lawsuit (20th Century Bogeyman) the polulation into their line. Next step was trying to get the Pollies to agree that the Taxpayer would foot the bill to protect their Copyright so they can pass the cost onto someone else thus increasing the profit. The new economic principle is to privatise the profits and socialise the losses. Who is the stupid Polly that signs the death warrent of their political career to do that bidding. Watch out for that mass of retiring Pollies who don’t have access to the gravy lined, fat, tax payer funded retirment plan that has been closed off to the newer Pollies. DANGER DANGER.
    Today’s goliath is tomorrows dinosaur in a long line of evolution. Starved of the thing they required to survive when change happened, they will not adapt, or refuse to, and die off one by one. Be sure, they did kill other things why they did there dieing.
    In the end, who will win the hearts and minds of Australia? The polulace being hit with lawsuits or the poor Corporations right to make people financialy destitute for defying them? Why do you reckon the predominately US based industry hide behind these stupid “fronts” as they don’t want to be boycotted (which history has shown can bring the most powerful Corp. to it’s knees).
    This story just reaffirms to me, that the more one hides who they are behind a Lawyer or front company, it usually shows that the act they are doing is unethical and they do not want to be responsible for the ire it will attract. Gutless cowards will always go for the smaller and weaker.

  18. Anyone using WEP security on their wireless router is vulnerable to anonymous 3rd parties using their internet connection for downloading. This would be an EASY mistake for anyone to make, making any internet user with a wireless router being able to explain unauthorised access from their IP.

  19. This article mentions people are being chased up for *downloading* the movies… Correct me if I am wrong, but isn’t copyright infringement only relevant to those distributing the content? not those receiving it?

    • Also using bittorrent doesn’t mean you’re automatically uploading too. You can block or throttle outbound to 0 and effectively be sharing out nothing..

    • That’s crazy isn’t it. What ISP would have given Crossley information such as firstsurnameaddress details of their customers though?

      Thankfully we’re still protected from that here in AU (mostly) but those $8 per month VPN services are starting to sound attractive (to those that download movies). If the personal details associated with your IP aren’t safe with your ISP though, what’s to stop the VPN service providers getting dragged into court for IP’s as well. It makes the trail longer, but not out of reach for the most determined scumbags that see big $$ in shakedowns like this.

      I wonder how you’d feel working for that guy, earning the lowest legal wage in London, watching your boss turn up to work in a Bentleigh.

  20. So, a few comments over on slashdot make some interesting points:

    1) They’re not lawyers – in fact, their office is a suite at [Censored — just being careful, Renai] on the Gold Coast (not exactly the legal hub of Australia)….a surgeon friend has a clinic just down the road, it’s not even considered the business hub of the gold coast let alone Australia!

    2) The spokesman’s linked in profile jumps from “Australian Airforce – 1980” to “VP Sales and Marketting – Movie Rights Group – 2010”

    3) Claims “the directors” have 15 years experience in IT but no mention of who these directors are (anyone on here that works on the gold coast have experience with this company or directors?)

    4) Their website (1 year old, not changed much) is anonymously hosted, doesn’t work (can’t submit a “settlement”) and used to say (wayback machine) “If, however, you decide not to settle and wish your matter to be heard in Court, we strongly suggest you engage a lawyer as soon as possible. Be aware that you may be exposing yourself to civil damages of up to USD$150,000 plus costs, per infringement.”…it was changed recently to remove the reference to $150,000

    Lots of post on slashdot warning this might be a scam?

    • Oh, and they’re apparently not in the phone book and only list a fax on their website….not suspicious at all! :)

  21. IP’s are not people, so stop giving out MY details when someone asks for them
    Prove I downloaded the movie, before you breach all rights of privacy
    If only judges here in Australia would understand this simple logic.

    • well I assume if a lawyer had an IP address, they’d document time and proof as to when it was being used to download a movie, then with cooperation from the ISP, the information of the customer X that had the lease on that IP address (unless it’s a static one of course) at the same date & time… that’s the whole argument that supposedly ‘proves’ that ISP customer X was the person doing the illegal internetings.

      now whether or not an ISP would give in to some dodgy company like this ‘MRG’ and provide details about their customers from the IP provided to them is another matter… those boundaries don’t appear to have been tested fully in Australia have they?

      • A laughable idea of proof!

        An ISP giving out details after an allegation is ludicrous. A judge giving a subpoena after an allegation is ludicrous.

        A list of IPs is not evidence of anything. It is an allegation. It doesn’t matter who is supplying the list either. A list of IPs from the largest Hollywood studio is no different than a list of IPs from a single citizen.

        I like to think that if I alleged a civil crime against a list of IP addresses that the judge would tell me that it isn’t enough proof to release names and addresses – especially since these IPs could be fabricated or incorrect.

  22. Gentlemen,

    Well, I’m very sorry for your loss of revenue and having to use a Breach of Copyright as a retaliation for your obvious business failures…….

    First of all, as of the late 1980’s the Australian T.A.F.E taught us in their VCR Servicing course in Australia that in the US 90% of most films made were shelved because they were not up to standard for Theatrical Presentation. ( Were not good enough for the Movies!)

    Until the Home Video Rental Market appeared in this country, then all those shelved Movies were sold and rented.
    Some were acceptable some were good and some were crap.

    The point is that we are no longer going to buy poor quality without Preview.

    We will Rent or Download to Preview.
    There are a lot of people who cannot afford to buy ever, so that is a sale you will never have anyway..

    There are a lot of people who Rent and Copy, that is also a sale you will never have also.

    There are people like me who Download, View and if the work is good ..then Buy. (That’s Me)

    I won’t spend my dollar and buy crap..Not anymore!

    I already have had it with your Format Wars.
    I also own, Duplicates of the same Movies and TV Shows on Video CD, Laser Disc, Beta, VHS, DVD,and Blu-ray.

    I also Download TV Shows and Movies to Preview.

    Now why don’t you people try and do some good business, like dropping the retail prices of DVD’s and Blu-rays in Australia, improve the quality of your productions…..and stop hasseling the ISP’s and the Downloaders…

    After all, if you have a good product it’s going to get heaps of FREE advertising.

    Jeez! you people are Bad Business People! if you can’t see that!

    By the way, with your Copyright do any of the Actor’s or their Retirement Home’s get anything from the Royalties?

    Especially, seeing how we only buy because of the Actors and yes sometimes the story in these products.

    Finally, we need more Lawyers and Litigation’s like the US the same as we need more Cockroaches and Cane Toads!

    Have you ever given any thought to the 150 listed I.S.P addresses that you Illegally procured,
    and what if one of those 150 was a psychopath and decided to retaliate and burn down your workplace.

    That happened to me, smoke and fire damage, no job, no pay, all your work tools of trade burnt, no wages and no unemployment money.

    Something to think about, isn’t it.

    I also keep a pound of butter in the freezer, as this will aid in inserting the 3000 plus Disc Media I paid for up Yours Baby!

    Lester of Smeg


  23. I like their website, I feel they are very Australian when I look at it. Or maybe I just can’t tell the difference between a map of Northern America, and an island nation.

  24. I have an open wifi zone on my router.
    Because any piracy coming from my IP wasn’t me.

      • Consumer routers don’t normally store MAC address information in the longer term though so that information wouldn’t be available.

  25. Yawwnnn well good luck with that about year ago a mate of mine that works for bigpond told me that telstra was going to start saving every action of their internet users. So I had heaps of time to speculate about things.
    Theoretically IF I was to download torrents I’d use a secure VPN with no logging that way even my own ISP doesn’t even know what I’ve been doing, maybe I’d use TOR as a gateway then log into a secure VPN just to make things interesting by bouncing my IP around a bit then I’d download right to a usb drive keeping the actual movie file off the PC HDD and I’d keep an open zone on my wifi cause it’s damn easy to snatch a signal right out of the air.!
    AND if you were good enough to work yourself through all that you’ll be met with 3 simple words
    Go Fuck Yourself!
    Cause I’m betting 99.9% of any legal letter would be a bluff.
    Of course I’m just speculating :)

  26. Well I for one am very nervous. I’m angry with myself for thinking I could DL to my hearts content without any repercussions. Those days are over now as I nervously await an extortion letter. All the above posts of “They’ll never take you to court” are pure speculation, and as one ISP rep on WP posts, they’ll be very well prepared for the first cases……
    My one hope is that the secret meeting between the gov’t and AFACT might come up with a 3 strikes and your out policy before the extortion letters go out, thus not getting a $3K one strike and your out letter……

  27. Hi guys,

    I’ve deleted a couple of comments from this thread due to people investigating the background of the people behind Movie Rights Group. I have to protect myself here so I can’t host this material on Delimiter until it’s more fully investigated. Reading between the lines … I hope you understand ;)



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