Movie Studios Sue Australian ISP For Not Waving Magic Wand And Defeating Piracy

from the blame-someone-else dept

A few years ago, after realizing that blaming consumers wasn't a particularly effective strategy in covering up for the entertainment industry's own inability to adapt to a changing market, industry insiders chose a new strategy: blame ISPs. That sent them down a path of trying to force ISPs to do a variety of things, such as installing filters, policing their networks for copyright-infringing material and, of course, kicking users off their networks. In the mind of entertainment industry execs, a failure to do any of these things should be a crime. Note how the industry totally shifts responsibility here. Rather than admitting that they should change with the market, it's always someone else who needs to change to protect the entertainment industry's obsolete business model.

While the industry has been able to get some politicians and ISPs to agree (amazingly, often against their own best interests), it's now gone a step further. A bunch of the biggest movie studios (Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Disney Enterprises, and the Seven Network) have teamed up to sue Australia's largest ISP, iiNet, for failing to stop copyright infringement. iiNet, you may recall, is the same ISP that has been mocking the Australian government for requiring filters. So, naturally, it's response to this lawsuit is rather direct. While the studios complain that iiNet isn't doing anything, iiNet responds that this is not true at all. They pass each complaint on to the police, because if there's a crime, then the police should deal with it:
They send us a list of IP addresses and say 'this IP address was involved in a breach on this date'. We look at that say 'well what do you want us to do with this? We can't release the person's details to you on the basis of an allegation and we can't go and kick the customer off on the basis of an allegation from someone else'. So we say 'you are alleging the person has broken the law; we're passing it to the police. Let them deal with it'.

We are not traffic cops. We can't stand in the middle of it and stop the individual items that might be against the law. These guys are asking us to be judge, jury and executioner.
Even better, iiNet's CEO Michael Malone gets to the heart of the matter:
I think they genuinely believe that ISPs have a secret magic wand that we are hiding and if we bring it out we can make piracy disappear just by waving it. And it doesn't exist.
Indeed, but that might mean that the entertainment industry has to actually take responsibility for their own business model failings, and they can't do that. So they have to blame others.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), Nov 20th, 2008 @ 1:21pm

    Here too!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Nov 20th, 2008 @ 1:22pm

    Here too!

    Sorry, hit enter on subject line instead of tab. =.=


    Anyways, was going to say, he needs to have his company open up here in the US too. I can respect his company a lot better than I find myself able to offer the slightest bit of respect towards Comcast or AT&T et al.

     

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  3.  
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    Murdock (profile), Nov 20th, 2008 @ 1:35pm

    Where do I sign up?

    Can I sign up with that ISP here in the US? I want a CEO that stands up for its customers like that. If they were an option instead of my cable provider I'd be signed up in a heartbeat.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Kevin Stapp, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 1:42pm

    He has a very good point

    He has a very valid point. If a law is broken it is up to law enforcement to deal with it, not a private enterprise. If I'm caught counterfeiting money on a copier should you call Xerox or the cops?

     

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  5.  
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    Desmo, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 2:20pm

    iiNet Australias largest ISP, I think not...that would be Bigpond. Get the facts right...

     

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  6.  
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    Slartibartfast, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 2:24pm

    I've been with iinet since they started operating in Oz. Apart from a few glitches here and there they actually appear to want to provide a decent service for their customers. Hopefully they can stick it to the so called "entertainment industry" scumbags.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Yakko Warner, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 2:28pm

    Re: Where do I sign up?

    I'm with you.

    Makes me want to sign up for service today, just to send them money to show them support.

     

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  8.  
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    r0cksinpockets, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 2:33pm

    Long Live iiNet... Horray Horray !

    As a long term subscriber to iiNet, I would thouroughly recomend this company and its busines model to everyone. Great value products, well thought out, supported with intelligent innovative marketing, an awesome support network, and without the, "I am god screw all you little people for every cent" mentality.
    Generally we don't have a lot of choice as to who our ISP is here in Australia. The physical network, is controlled by a single supplier who manipulates all ISP's and their pricing structures to it's own benefit. Controlling access to exchanges, refusing to upgrade hardware technology, and justifing it's position with every dirty political trick in the book.

    Iinet took all of this in it's stride.. It was the first with ADSL2 Technology, offering plans at comparable and even cheaper prices than all the other competitors. When pressured and manipulated by the dominating competitor, it established it's own network and extended it's market even further..

    I have had accounts with every ISP, there is no way I would ever go back..

    LONG LIVE IINET!!!!!

     

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  9.  
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    Andy, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 2:54pm

    easier way to deal with Studios etc

    An easier way to stop piracy could be to drop/block/reroute all sites of entertainment/studio companies. Just an idea

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymoose, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 3:02pm

    Is there any way..

    We can convince Michael Malone to come to the states and start up a new broadband ISP? Would ditch ComCast in a heartbeat if there were real competition -- all the better if it's headed up by someone with nads.

     

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  11.  
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    abba12, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 3:54pm

    I love these guys, but they focus on ADSL2 amd haven't done the ADSL2 lines where I live yet. They have ADSL1 plans available but they're crap compared to others, probably because they're still on the main network for that. Still, as soon as they do our exchange I'm there. Even their adverts are just gold, they have such a great attitude. It really feels like a friendly company you can connect with, you know? Not a coporate thing like bigpond. Kinda like google lol, it just seems... fun!

    (yeah, they're definitly NOT the biggest ISP in australia, bigpond takes that title by far because they control all the lines, theres some others but no real big ones except dodo, who, quite frankly, scare me)

     

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  12.  
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    Robert A. Rosenberg, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 4:06pm

    Re: He has a very good point

    I would call the Secret Service (who handles Fake Money issues in the US) and report Xerox since their color machines are supposed to be able to detect an attempt to copy money and refuse to do the copy (B&W machines are allowed to do the copy, BTW).

     

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  13.  
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    Rebecca Cannon, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 4:17pm

    ... Business Owners have legal liability

    From a business owner's perspective I feel pretty sorry for ISPs. Sure, they don't have to hand over personal details to movie studios (privacy infringement liability), however they do have a legal responsibility to prevent themselves from facilitating illegal activity - which they *might* be doing. If they police show up at their door with a search warrant, ISPs are legally obliged to hand over the personal details of any entities who are allegedly involved in illegal activity.

    I'd like to know more about how these film studios found IP address' of alleged law-breakers...

     

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  14.  
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    Jeff, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 4:27pm

    Magic Wand

    *waves a magic spoon*

    BE GONE PIRACY! POOF AWAY!

    *dead silence*

    Ok, Plan B. Let's just sue everyone and hope for the best!

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    ..., Nov 20th, 2008 @ 4:30pm

    Re: ... Business Owners have legal liability

    It's a very grey area. From the ISP point of view, I'll offer another metaphor; Who would you call to report a person breaking the speed limit or drunk driving? The police, or the DMV? The ISP only provides the roads, it's up to the police to enforce the laws.

     

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  16.  
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    Brett, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 4:32pm

    Re: ... Business Owners have legal liability

    > Sure, they don't have to hand over personal details to movie studios (privacy infringement liability)

    It's more than "they don't have to".
    They are legally not allowed to hand over that information to the movie studios.

    > If they police show up at their door with a search warrant, ISPs are legally obliged to hand over the personal details of any entities who are allegedly involved in illegal activity.

    Sure, but that isn't what is happening. The studios don't want to go after the individual users, just the ISP at large.

     

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  17.  
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    VHCL, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 4:37pm

    he has COJONES

     

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  18.  
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    bob, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 4:50pm

    LOL

    Magic Wand LOL

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 7:02pm

    Re: LOL

    "Magic Wand LOL"

    Well, it is OZ ...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Kevin Stapp, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 7:22pm

    Re: Re: He has a very good point

    You confirmed my main point. When a LAW is broken you call the police, not a private company.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Kevin Stapp, Nov 20th, 2008 @ 7:30pm

    Re: ... Business Owners have legal liability

    Define "facilitating illegal activity". Is a phone company facilitating illegal activity if you phone in a bomb threat? Is a gun maker facilitating illegal activity if you rob a store with a gun they make? Is a car manufacturer facilitating illegal activity if you drink and drive? Is an ISP facilitating illegal activity if YOU upload a copyrighted work across their network? (Oh, and how would know you don't have the right to that work?)

    Do you see the slippery slope here? How can any company, group or individual prevent others from using or misusing any product or facility in an illegal manner?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
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    abba12, Nov 21st, 2008 @ 12:01am

    The biggest problem is, if ISPs are eventually forced into this, where is the line drawn? Will they scan every upload made? Then they'll have to start scanning every download made because the uploader may not have the same restrictions. How do they know whats legal and illigal to download, some artists place their music online to be downloaded legally, no record label. Will they have a database of every artist and check for that name?

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    cram, Nov 21st, 2008 @ 2:52am

    If at all anyone can be pulled up for a site hosting infringing content, it is the web host. I don't see how an ISP can be held liable for what its customers do.

    Even if they do agree to block infringing sites, they will be dutybound to unblock the sites once the content is removed, and back and forth. I mean, anyone could set up a 100 different sites with infringing content just to screw their happiness. It would be a nightmare and drain them of resources needed to perform their core function - providing Net access.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Nov 21st, 2008 @ 6:15am

    Re: Re: He has a very good point

    > and report Xerox since their color machines
    > are supposed to be able to detect an attempt
    > to copy money and refuse to do the copy

    They're not "supposed" to do any such thing. Some color copies are programmed to do that but that's a feature added voluntarily by the manufacturer. It's certainly not a requirement mandated by law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    Tamara, Nov 21st, 2008 @ 6:59am

    Re:

    Desmo. Bigpond(Telstra) is a telephony company that offers Internet services (Optus is the same). Neither of them are ISPs. iiNet is an ISP that offers telephony services. Try getting Internet from Telstra and Optus without having phone with them - you can't.

    iiNet is the biggest ISP in Australia. He did get his facts right. You didn't.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Tamara, Nov 21st, 2008 @ 7:02am

    Re: Long Live iiNet... Horray Horray !

    If you live in one of the 3 biggest cities(and surrounding cities) in Australia then there are 2 physical networks to choose from. Optus has their own cable network in those cities. If however you want to have ADSL then that uses the Telstra network.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
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    mrosedale (profile), Nov 21st, 2008 @ 9:03am

    Glad to see they are standing up against this

    I am glad to see that they are standing against this. Take it to them and I hope they win! FTW

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    R Cannon, Nov 21st, 2008 @ 6:55pm

    Re: Re: ... Business Owners have legal liability

    > Sure, but that isn't what is happening. The studios don't want to go after the individual users, just the ISP at large.

    "at this stage" - but keep in mind they have to prove a crime has been committed at all, which will involve the submission of evidence, possibly including that of the identities of the individuals in question.


    "Adrianne Pecotic, executive director of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT), said the action followed a five-month investigation by the industry.

    "We identified thousands of infringements of copyright by iiNet's customers and we provided iiNet with about 18 separate notices of those infringements and, unfortunately, iiNet did not do anything to address that copyright infringement," she said.

    Pecotic said she would not rule out further action against other internet providers. But she was not interested in targeting individual downloaders at this stage."

    http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2008/11/20/1226770617457.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap 1

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    R Cannon, Nov 21st, 2008 @ 7:00pm

    I think it's worth nothing a comment by Michael Speck, who is on the dodgey side of the fence in this issue and mentions no references for his following claim:

    >Michael Speck, who between 2004 and 2006 ran the music industry's landmark case against KaZaA as the head of MIPI, said he believed legal precedents already established and the emergence of filtering technologies meant iiNet would lose the case.

    >After leading the music industry to victory against KaZaA, Speck joined forces with one of the file sharing program's key proponents, Kevin Bermeister, to invent filtering technology designed to stamp out illegal file sharing.

    http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2008/11/20/1226770617457.html?page=fullpage#contentSwa p1

    Speck's business
    http://www.theage.com.au/news/technology/biztech/kazaa-foes-join-up-to-fight-pirates-and-porn/2008 /10/28/1224956013205.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1
    http://pulse2.com/2008/10/29/kevin-bermeister- and-michael-speck-partnering-on-brilliant-digital-entertainment/

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Jammit, Dec 6th, 2008 @ 4:01am

    The managment of Channel 7 and Co.

    It's ironic how the people who manage channel 7 are off in hot pursuit of IInet given that:

    The people hwo manage channel 7 -

    Work in collusion with "child psychologists" to Deliberately target children - to pressure parents to buy them things; without which they will not be whole;

    And they keep them glued to the screen, eating junk food, and buying what ever they are told too; while the people who manage channel 7 profit from raising crop after crop of feel good addicted fat and diseased consumers.

    The people who manage channel 7 profit psychologically targeting peope to make them sick, and then they blame the government.

    The people who manage channel 7 also sensationalise and trivialise matters of importance, and turn the act of getting things done into point scoring and popularity contests - playing enemies and allies mind games.

    The people who manage channel 7 also promote car racing and the sales of gas guzzling "keeping up with the Jones junk" for a buck - even as we start to tumble into the precipice of no return....

    They train people to medicate themselves into their graves with sex, food, drugs and gossip; keeping them glued to the screens - in order to make a buck - and then they say "Oh aren't the people who we have shown how to do any thing for a buck bad" when we can catch them out doing what we have been doing for decades......

    Lying, cheating, miseading, manipulating adn robbing people... anything for a buck.

    As the SS said, "I was only following orders" - and as long as the people who manage and work for channel 7 don't have to take personal responsibility for everything they have done - then they are no different to the nazis - and their responsibility shifting.

    And in every individual in channel 7 doing everything they have done and not taking responsibility for it, and changing their ways - they are the ethical nazis of the past, today, tomorrow and the future - for all time.

    If everyone had of said, "No" then there would have been no world war 2; and yet, here we are sailing through the cross roads saying "What in the hell has happened - "I made the car, I sold the car and I bought and drove the car..... - and as long as non of us have to take any person responsibility - none of us are to blame."

    Oh wait a second.... there are lots of people watching stuff without paying for it... that's it - it's their fault - they are keeping us out of the money loop, they are keeping us from selling them junk food and keeping them glued to the screens, telling them that if they don't have the latest model gas guzzling car - they what will people think of them... they might think they are a loser, a failure - some one who couldn't make it.. up to the standards we set for them as being normal..

    The fat, the diseased, the cancer ridden - from eating the shit we tell them too and not getting out and exercising....

    The people who manage channel 7 are the liars and thieves. They steal life and health and self esteem - and destroy the planet - all in the name of a fast buck.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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