iinet sued by movie industry

Ben Shepherd writes: This will be a story to watch.

The group, which includes Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, Disney and the Seven Network, had lodged the action against Perth-based iiNet but has also left open its options of taking further legal action against the country’s big two broadband players, Telstra and Optus.

The broad aim of the action is to stop internet users from using high-speed connections to swap digital versions of Hollywood films such as American Gangster and Mamma Mia! as well as popular television series such as Heroes and Two and a Half Men.

My initial question is why is iinet being targeted when this is a much bigger issue across all ISP’s … especially when iinet is the number 3 ISP nationally and has significantly less custom than Telstra and Optus.

Why target iinet?

Will the industry start suing companies like Google – which is the prime way people find p2p and torrent sites and ultimately download this content? Why sue the ISP when the ISP isn’t how the content is found, only how the content is distributed?

I can find torrents for the top 5 movies in Oz right now through Google and it takes me less than 2 mins to do so. If the purpose is to stop illegal distribution of content targeting an ISP makes no sense to me … because people will just go to other ISPs and search for what they want. I’m not saying they should sue Google – all I am saying is search plays a bigger role in piracy than ISP distribution.

Lets not forget Seven (who are involved) owns ISP Unwired – will they be suing themselves as there would be no doubt illegal content is distributed via Unwired pipes.

Yes, this is a big problem – but it feels to me they’re going after the wrong target here.

I must also point out my employer has both iinet and also Walt Disney Studios as clients.

Whirlpool is covering this issue as well –


2 responses to “iinet sued by movie industry

  1. Liam: Yes this is one to watch. I don’t have a strong background in the law so I have no view on the chances of success.

    It certainly seems like a desperate move to chase the ISP.

    The ISP should be able to determine if their customers are sharing inappropriate files however it would be an onerous workload. Making the ISP take up the role normally undertaken by various law enforcement bodies seems somewhat counter-intuitive.

    It will be interesting to see whether the bigger players watch and learn for their turn in court or whether they actively assist iinet now to fight the case.

    One thing is certain, it is a deeply cynical act to go after iinet and not the big guys.

    Going after the big ISP’s would present some risks to the AFACT members. The larger carriers are no doubt contractually related on other fronts to most of the businesses involved in AFACT.

    Also they probably take the view that iinet is significantly less experienced with protracted litigation than it’s very experienced and competent competitors.

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