Dallas Buyers Club suffers major setback in iiNet piracy case

Voltage gets a shocking court ruling

A huge blow has been dealt to Voltage Pictures/Dallas Buyers Club LLC in its piracy case against iiNet and several other ISPs today.

The Federal Court of Australia has ruled that a $600,000 bond will have to be paid for it to obtain the names and addresses of 4726 alleged Australian copyright infringers of the Oscar-winning film, Dallas Buyers Club, in order to send them scary infringement notice letters.

The draft letter, which Dallas Buyers Club LLC was ordered to submit for court approval along with its proposed phone script, asked alleged pirates questions about their salaries, if they’ve served in the military, their previous torrenting history, how many times Dallas Buyers Club was downloaded off the back of their torrent and more.

Justice Nye Perram made the decision to place such a large bond in an effort to prevent ‘speculative invoicing’ from happening in Australia, which is a practice that sees rights holders approach rights infringers directly to seek significant amounts in compensation, which often leads to out-of-court settlements.

No dead cats

The damages sought by Dallas Buyers Club LLC fall into four claim areas: (a) a claim for the cost of an actual purchase of a single copy of the Film for each copy of the Film downloaded, (b) a claim for an amount relating to each infringers’ uploading activities, (c) a claim for additional damages depending on how many copies of other copyrighted works had been downloaded by each infringer, and (d) a claim for damages arising from the amount of money it has cost DBC to obtain each infringer’s name.

The ruling found that two of the four claims of damages set by Dallas Buyers Club LLC were not up to snuff, stating that “Claims (b) and (c) are untenable claims and are outside the proper ambit of the power.”

Justice Perram also stated that "the Court was not going to open the sluice gates until it saw the proposed correspondence and until DBC satisfied the Court that it was that approved correspondence, and not something else, such as a dead cat, that DBC was going to send to account holders."