iiNet Beats Hollywood

In a landmark decision, iiNet has won the first round in a battle of who is responsible for illegal downloads.

Australia’s Federal Court has found in favour of iiNet in a landmark case brought against the ISP by AFACT (Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft), which is a lobby group made up of content providers such as movie studios and television stations.

At the heart of the case is whether an ISP provider is responsible for its customers illegally downloading films and games from bit torrent sites. These sites are places were movie, television and music files are exchanged, mostly without the approval of copyright holders.

Also at stake was who is responsible for policing illegal downloads – the ISP or the content providers themselves.

In his judgement, Justice Dennis Cowdroy said that iiNet were providing a service to its users and although iiNet had knowledge of what was going on, it was not liable for the downloading habits of its customers.

With some Hollywood big guns involved – including Universal Pictures and Sony Picture Entertainment, it is doubtful this case will end here. Most pundits believe the case will be appealed and end up in the Federal Supreme Court.