iiNet partners with law firm to provide pro-bono services for Dallas Buyers Club downloaders

iiNet yesterday confirmed that it will be working with a law firm who has offered to provide pro-bono services to any customer who has allegedly downloaded Dallas Buyers Club and receives a letter from the film's rights holders.

iiNet's announcement follows a landmark ruling in April where several Australian internet service providers (ISPs) were ordered to hand over the details of thousands of alleged infringers to the studio behind the film. ISPs will forced to disclose the names and addresses of said customers shortly after May 21.

"If you do receive a letter you may want to get legal advice. iiNet is working with a law firm that has offered to provide pro-bono services for any of our customers," wrote iiNet Company Secretary Ben Jenkins on the ISP's official blog. "More details will be provided when agreement is reached on that front."

In the same post, Jenkins said that iiNet will immediately inform customers if their name is released as part of the Court's orders. iiNet will only provide a name and street address to Dallas Buyers Club's right holders; it is not required to provide an email address or phone number.

While there have been concerns about speculative invoicing – a practice where rights holders demand an excessive sum of money and offer to settle for a smaller, but still large figure – Jenkins wrote that the damages sought could be less than the cost of a parking ticket.

"The Judge did say that for single instances of infringement that damages could quite possibly be limited to the fee that would have been paid had the film been lawfully downloaded. This could be around AUD$10."

During the trial, Justice Nye Perram ruled that the film's right holders must first send him a draft of any letter they propose to send to alleged infringers.

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