Movie Studios Continue To Demand Australian ISP Admit To Supporting Piracy

from the but,-uh,-it-didn't... dept

You may recall last November that a bunch of movie studios got together and sued Australian ISP iiNet, for not being able to wave a magic wand and make all unauthorized file sharing among its users disappear. The ISP, who has taken a very pro-consumer stance, responded by noting that if there's any "theft" involved, it should be a matter for the police to investigate, not an ISP to take action based on allegations alone:
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'.
In March, the company further explained its defense, noting that direct file sharing between two individuals doesn't appear to violate Australian copyright laws, since there's no "public" distribution of the material.

The latest, as pointed out by Michael Scott, is that the studios are basically stomping their feet and demanding that iiNet admit that it broke copyright law.

To be honest, it appears the two sides are talking past one another. The studios insist that iiNet is breaking the law by not taking action against file sharers, while iiNet is pointing out that's not the issue. It's saying it would be perfectly happy to take action against those convicted in a court of violating the law. But it can't just take the studio's word for it, and so it sees no reason to act until a court has convicted someone.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    weneedhelp, May 18th, 2009 @ 11:41am

    Finally! good for you iinet. I wish you could provide services in the states.

     

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  2.  
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    joshua jones, May 18th, 2009 @ 11:46am

    Re:

    finally, an ISP i can respect.

     

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  3.  
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    TheStupidOne, May 18th, 2009 @ 11:56am

    Logical

    It makes perfect sense. respect your customers. if there is a criminal violation the police can handle it.

    The studios just need to grow up and start following the law

     

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  4.  
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    Rob R., May 18th, 2009 @ 12:18pm

    AMEN!

    Too bad I can't get them for an ISP. I don't do file sharing, but I like their attitude about the whole thing. Perhaps more ISPs will take this as an example and make the RIAA and others of their ilk shut up and stop pestering honest law-abiding people.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 12:36pm

    It really is sad that we have to congratulate one of the few that are actually doing what they are supposed to be doing. The ISP has no responsibility to act like executioners for the 'studios' judge and jury.

    If someone accuses me speeding through their town are the people maintaining the roads of that town supposed to prevent me from using their roads? I'm sure the road workers would probably say things very similar to the general message of iiNet "We ain't cops. Now kindly leave me alone, jerk."

     

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  6.  
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    PaulT (profile), May 18th, 2009 @ 12:43pm

    Yeah, I have to echo the above - it's not about file sharing and the rights and wrongs of that activity. It's about whether a private organisation can demand that another private organisation remove an important, and potentially vital (e.g. if the user runs a home internet business), service on the basis of something as flimsy as an IP address log and mere suspicion of a crime.

    The ISP are saying exactly what every such private organisation should say: prove it, and don't come back until you have a court order. If a crime has been committed, and the reasonable punishment is the removal of service, then this should not be a problem.

    It's sad that the movie studios are apparently intent on repeating the same fatal mistakes that have been destroying the music arms of their corporations.

     

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  7.  
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    James Carmichael, May 18th, 2009 @ 12:44pm

    Flawless logic

    By that logic, the movie studios should sue themselves for letting 'pirates' copy their DVDs. By not preventing pirates from uploading their movies online, they are breaching copyright. They should install DRM systems that would prevent the friends or family of the movie purchaser to watch the movie more than once.

    Moreover, the radio stations should also sue speaker manufacturers because they let people hear the music (performance rights!)

    Banks should sue the government for not stopping criminals on their way to a bank robbery (through public roads!)

    Some guy threw a frozen treat at me the other day; I should sue the company who made the frozen treat, since it failed to prevent the treat from being thrown at me.

    And don't get me started about suing the wind.

     

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  8.  
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    Whisk33, May 18th, 2009 @ 12:57pm

    Correction?

     

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  9.  
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    Whisk33, May 18th, 2009 @ 1:01pm

    Correction?

    "But it can't just take the ISP's word for it, and so it sees no reason to act until a court has convicted someone. " Shouldn't it be... "But it[the ISP] can't just take the Studio's word for it..."

     

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  10.  
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    Steven Leach, May 18th, 2009 @ 1:07pm

    WOW Where can I sign up to have this company as my ISP ?

    I just love this ISP's attitude!!! I wish we had some ISP's like them in the USA. Hip Hip Hurray

     

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  11.  
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    Steve R. (profile), May 18th, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Logical

    The problem is that the studios are going to the congressional supermarket to buy laws to grant them special privileges (Corporatism). What we need are lawmakers who have some backbone and make laws that benefit society.

     

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  12.  
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    Mike (profile), May 18th, 2009 @ 1:34pm

    Re: Correction?

    Oops. Fixed.

     

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

  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 2:30pm

    Police?

    The studios made allegations to the ISP who dutifully passed those allegations along to the police. So, if the police then aren't doing anything, why aren't the studios suing the police and accusing them of complicity? Instead, they're suing the ISP for not being a vigilante?

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Police?

    cause the studios know the police have bigger problems to deal with so they try there scare tactics on the ISP

     

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  15.  
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    mike42 (profile), May 18th, 2009 @ 2:52pm

    It's to be expected

    “If the facts are on your side, bang on the facts. If the law is on your side, bang on the law. If neither the facts nor the law is on your side, bang on the table.”

    The studio's have lost, and they know it.

     

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  16.  
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    Proud iiNet Customer, May 18th, 2009 @ 3:22pm

    Go iiNet

    I am a customer of iiNet and I know this is not the only stance they have taken like this.

    Recently the Australian government has been trying to put a broad internet firewall in place that they will use to filter "illegal sites" for all users of all ISP's (you probably read about this on techdirt a while back).

    iiNet took a stance against this as well and actively tried to be involved in the testing phase so they could prove just how badly it worked and that it would suffer under load.

    The government refused iiNet's participation in the trial and instead handed it to a bunch of small unknown ISP's who couldn't possibly give them stats on real traffic. iiNet has since then gone out their way to make everyone aware of what the government has been doing on this and does a great job of keeping all it's users informed of where they stand on it.

    iiNet is one of the few companied that really does make me glad to be one of their customers rather than the competition!

     

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  17.  
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    PRMan, May 18th, 2009 @ 3:41pm

    Re: Re: Logical

    "The problem is that the studios are going to the congressional supermarket to buy laws to grant them special privileges (Corporatism). What we need are lawmakers who have some backbone and make laws that benefit society."

    And how do you propose that such a person get elected by the sheeple that watch Big 6 TV stations and listen to Big 6 radio all day long? Good luck with that.

    I sense a violent revolution in our (world's) future over this issue because change cannot come any other way when there is this much control.

     

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  18.  
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    Richard, May 18th, 2009 @ 3:42pm

    iiNet

    Where did the movie studios get the IP addresses of the supposed file sharers? Have they been hacking into the isp sites?

    One way to punish the movie studios is to boycot their movies.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 4:25pm

    They got the info by listing the ip addresses THEY downloaded illegal copies from. Of course, since they "own" the copyright, its not illegal for them to download it.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 5:18pm

    if the isp is unable to say who is on the ip then it is likely that someone from the isp is using it. logic follows.

     

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  21.  
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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, May 18th, 2009 @ 5:31pm

    If Copyright Is Theft...

    Those who keep claiming that copyright infringement is “theft” should welcome iiNet’s stance. After all, theft is a criminal, not a civil, infringement of the law. Therefore its assertion that such claims should be taken to the police makes perfect sense.

    QED.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 8:32pm

    What's next ? - WaterBoarding ?

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Robert A. Rosenberg, May 18th, 2009 @ 8:45pm

    Re: Torrent User's IP Addresses

    It is not even needed to do the download - All that is needed is to get the torrent file and extract the IPNs from it. By not doing the download they do not supply parts of the file so they are not distributing it. OTOH: Unless they are the ones who seeded it in the first place, they need to download it to verify that it is their file being transfered.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2009 @ 11:13pm

    Re: Re: Police?

    And because, even in Australia, false reporting of a crime to the police is a criminal offense. So they don't want to do that.

     

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  25.  
    icon
    Killer_Tofu (profile), May 19th, 2009 @ 5:59am

    Re:

    Of course, since they "own" the copyright, its not illegal for them to download it.
    Which is why I like the idea that to successfully charge somebody with infringement, they not only need to prove that the specific person who uploaded it was indeed that person, but that they also need to prove that everybody who downloaded it does NOT own it.
    That is the reason you see disclaimers on No-CD sites for games. If you own the game, there is no harm. If you don't and are using the site to get games you don't own, thats a no-no. You click a disclaimer before entering.
    I think uploading a torrent is similar.
    Rather than installing more software on my pc to rip cds, I really do just download them. In most cases, it is certainly faster. I certainly have infringed nothing as well since I own the CD. (Note that CDs I get will not be through a major labels or their subsidaries in the past 5 years, they can suck it)

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    SunKing, May 19th, 2009 @ 7:55am

    Reality check

    I hope iiNet's interests continue to coincide with it's customers for a long time to come.

     

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  27.  
    identicon
    chron, Oct 8th, 2009 @ 8:22am

    Question

    Why cant the companies who are interested in the infringement just use the IP addresses and look up their addresses?

     

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


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