Hollywood studios left red-faced after losing ISP download case

Hollywood studios left red-faced after losing ISP download case
Case closed

Hollywood's battle with web pirates hit a significant road bump this week, when it lost a copyright case in Australia.

A number of Hollywood studios – including Warner Bros, Disney and 20th Century Fox – were behind the action against Australian ISP iiNet, which accused the service provider of allowing its users to download copyrighted content and blamed the company for not putting anti-piracy measures in place.

This was in 2010 and the lawsuit was eventually quashed when the court ruled in favour of iiNet, but the 35 movie and TV companies involved in the case decided to push ahead with an appeal.

Skip to 2012 and that appeal has been lost, with the court backing its original ruling that iiNet did not authorise the apparently illegal downloads or have the power to stop them.

No authorisation

"The High Court held that the respondent, an Internet service provider (ISP), had not authorised the infringement by its customers of the appellants' copyright in commercially released films and television programmes," said the court's statement.

Warner Bros and co aren't exactly happy with this ruling, with a spokesman for the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) saying about the judgement: "Both judgements in this case recognise that copyright law is no longer equipped to deal with the rate of technological change we have seen since the law of authorisation was last tested."

The ruling does have massive implications for the rest of the world. If courts aren't going to fine or punish ISPs for copyright infringement, then a lot of them might be thinking that going down the 'three strikes and you are out' road for repeat infringers might not be the right thing to do.

Via Phys.org

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.