Three years of legal wrangling finally came to an end today, with the High Court ruling in favour of iiNet in the Roadshow Films Pty Ltd & Ors v iiNet Ltd online piracy case.
The High Court upheld the Federal Court’s verdict and unanimously dismissed AFACT's appeal. In making its ruling, the High Court reaffirmed the Federal Court and Full Court rulings, which found iiNet had no direct technical power to prevent its customers from using BitTorrent file-sharing software to infringe copyright.
This was the anti-piracy group's final avenue of appeal, which means the matter can now be laid to rest. The ruling marks an end to over three years of legal arguments and challenges.
"iiNet has welcomed the High Court's unanimous decision to dismiss the appeal lodged by Roadshow Films & Others against iiNet," the ISP said in a statement. "Today’s High Court five-nil ruling confirms that iiNet is not liable for authorising the conduct of its customers who engaged in online copyright infringement." AFACT has yet to issue a statement.
AFACT -- an anti-piracy lobby group representing major movie studios -- first took iiNet to court in 2008 over illegal file downloads allegedly perpetrated by iiNet customers. According to AFACT, iiNet should be held directly responsible for customers who breeched copyright due to the company's inaction.
Today's ruling is expected to set an important legal precedent when it comes to a company's liability for user actions.
According to iINet's Chief Executive Officer, Michael Malone, the film industry needs to increase the availability of lawful, online content "in a more timely, affordable and reasonably priced manner" is it hopes to combat online piracy. “[This] is the best, most practical approach to meet consumer demand and protect copyright,” he stated.