Australian ISP iiNet was today announced as the victor in its long-running defence against a lawsuit by major film and TV studios represented by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT).
The studios first dragged iiNet into the Federal Court back in November 2008, arguing that the ISP infringed copyright by failing to take reasonable steps — including enforcing its own terms and conditions — to prevent customers from copying films and TV shows over its network. …
The studios were trying to make ISPs liable for what their users did, and force them to be unpaid sheriffs and terminate users on the basis of unproven allegations from the studios.
The court ruling is very strong – it says that iiNet did not sanction, approve or countenance copyright infringement – they simply did no more than provide an Internet service to its uers.
The court also said “iiNet is not responsible if an iiNet user chooses to make use of that (BitTorrent) system to bring about copyright infringement.
This is the first ruling of its kind in the world on whether ISPs can or should be liable for what their customers do, and if they have a duty to stop them. Hence it may prove to be a very useful precedent in future.