The High Court dismissed an appeal by a number of film and television companies from a decision of the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia. The High Court held that the respondent, an internet service provider, had not authorised the infringement by its customers of the appellants’ copyright in commercially released films and television programs.
The appellants, thirty-four Australian and United States companies, either own or exclusively license the copyright in thousands of commercially released films and television programs (“the appellants’ films”). The respondent, iiNet, provides internet services to its customers under an agreement which requires that the services not be used to infringe others’ rights or for illegal purposes. Users of internet services provided by iiNet infringed copyright in the appellants’ films by making the appellants’ films available online using the BitTorrent peer-to-peer file sharing system. The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, on behalf of the appellants, served notices on iiNet (“the AFACT notices”) alleging that iiNet’s customers had infringed copyright in the appellants’ films, and requiring iiNet to take action to prevent the infringements from continuing. iiNet took no action in response to the AFACT notices.
A summary of the judgement can be found here.
The judgement in full can be found here.