The High Court today spared internet service providers liability for the trade of thousands of pirate movies and music files by its customers.
But a leading internet and intellectual property lawyer says today’s decision in the iiNet online piracy case is not the end of the struggle between ISPs and content providers to come up with a way to deal with internet piracy.
The High Court this morning unanimously dismissed the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft's (AFACT) case against iiNet, saying that it didn't authorise its customers' copyright breaches.
The landmark litigation is the first of its kind to reach trial stage globally, so it has attracted the attention of Hollywood and internet sectors alike. The case is believed to have generated more than $12 million in legal fees.
Robert Gregory, a partner with east coast law firm Maddocks and a director of the Internet Society of Australia, said the High Court ruling now puts more pressure on the warring parties to make progress on an industry based scheme that meets the needs of copyright owners, ISPs and most importantly, end users.
“The Court expressly recognised that there is a role for co-operative industry protocols as well as legislative amendments to address the issue.
“This will not be the end of the debate, the ISPs and the copyright owners both have too much to lose if the current levels of piracy and litigation are allowed to go on and most likely increase,” he said.
The lawyer argues a simple industry-based resolution scheme is needed to provide content owners, ISPs and consumers with a transparent, fair, fast and economical way to deal with disputes.
“Now that the High Court has settled the way Copyright law applies in this environment, it is not beyond the parties involved to come together and work out a scheme that everyone can live with,” Gregory said.