find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Film industry needs new business model

Film industry needs new business model

Film studios and content owners will need to consider alternative business models to combat copyright infringement, following the High Court’s decision in favour of iiNet.

Film studios and content owners will need to consider alternative business models to combat copyright infringement, following the High Court’s decision in favour of iiNet.

In a significant win for iiNet and Australian ISPs generally, on 20 April the High Court unanimously ruled in favour of iiNet, dismissing an appeal lodged by Roadshow Films and 33 other Australian and US content owners in relation to copyright infringement.

In March 2011, the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft sought leave to appeal the ruling of a Full Court of the Federal Court which found that iiNet had not authorised the infringements of its users.

“The Court observed that iiNet had no direct technical power to prevent its customers from using the BitTorrent system to infringe copyright in the appelants’ films,” said the High Court.

According to Clayton Utz senior associate Timothy Webb (pictured), content owners now have a number of options in the wake of iiNet’s win, including the consideration of other “commercial solutions” that prevent or reduce copyright infringement.

“As long as ISPs do not have any technical power to prevent the use of BitTorrent and do not encourage copyright infringement, then even if the rights holders improve the notices that they send, ISPs do not authorise the infringing acts of their users. So it’s a fairly broad defence and a significant victory for iiNet and thereby ISPs,” Webb told Lawyers Weekly, discussing the impact of the High Court’s decision.

“Rights holders have got a few options. Obviously they can take action against individual users, suing individual subscribers for infringement. That has always been available to them – and they have resisted that for economic and other reasons – but as the High Court noted in its judgment, that option has been referred to as a ‘teaspoon solution to an ocean problems’. So it’s a really difficult mechanism for them to use.”

Another option for rights holders, according to Webb, is to begin issuing improved notices of infringement to ISPs, but he said there are queries as to whether that option would be successful “in light of the court’s findings on power to prevent”.

While lobbying the government for legislative change is another option available to content owners, Webb also highlighted the “commercial solutions” that are potentially available to them.

“Another option for them is of course introducing a monetised solution. Most peer-to-peer downloading occurs because users do not have access to the lawful copies, or alternatively, they are not prepared to pay the price that is asked for those lawful copies,” he said.

“One option is not to address the specific infringements that occur, but to reduce their incidence and come up with commercial solutions to deal with that.”

Similarly, in a statement released on 20 April welcoming the High Court decision, iiNet chief executive officer Michael Malone reminded the film industry that increasing the availability of lawful, online content in a more timely, affordable and reasonably-priced manner would bring the focus back to customers and provide the best method of protecting content owners’ copyright.

“Increasing the availability of licensed digital content is the best, most practical approach to meet consumer demand and protect copyright,” said Malone.

“We have consistently said we are eager to work with the studios to make their very desirable material legitimately available to a waiting customer base – and that offer remains the same today.”

Richard Cobden SC and Richard Lancaster SC represented iiNet who were instructed by Herbert Geer, with Melbourne-based telecommunications partner Graham Phillips leading the team.

Roadshow Films used Gilbert + Tobin, with the firm’s head of litigation and IP, Michael Williams, the lead partner. Williams is viewed as one of the leading IP lawyers in Australia, acting for the recording industry in its US$115 million settlement with the operators of the Kazaa file-sharing system.  Tony Bannon SC and John Hennessy SC were instructed.

Banki Haddock Fiora acted for the Australasian Performing Right Association and Carwardine Legal Solicitors represented the Communications Alliance Limited.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Film industry needs new business model
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microscope
06:04
‘Exorbitant legal fees’ under government microscope
With the growing number of class action proceedings in Australia, the government is looking at how ...
Funds, money, cash
06:00
Law Access WA receives welcome funding
Law Access Western Australia has received a grant from the state government to fund its pro bono leg...
Thomson Reuters adds to Practical Law team
06:00
Thomson Reuters adds to Practical Law team
Thomson Reuters has appointed an experienced real estate lawyer to its Practical Law Australia team....
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...