20 April 2012

iiNet - the winner

The High Court of Australia handed down judgement today in Roadshow Films Pty Limited & Ors v iiNet Limited [2012] HCA 16.

The court dismissed the appeal by the copyright owners from the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia - in other words, iiNet won.

The case was based on "authorisation" under the Copyright Act 1968, which extremely roughly means "aiding and abetting" someone in copyright infringement. The court held that iiNet had not authorised the infringement by its Bittorent-using-customers by not terminating customer accounts despite being given notice that infringements were occurring.

The logic of the decision is obvious - iiNet's only real power was to terminate its contracts with its customers on the basis of material given to it by third parties. However, the court held that these notices were not a sufficient basis for iiNet to cancel or otherwise limit its users' accounts.

The full text of the court's decision is not yet available.