The High Court of Australia has today, Friday 20 April 2012,
handed down its decision in Roadshow Films Pty Ltd v iiNet
Limited  HCA 16.
eAlerts! we reported that iiNet was successful both at trial
and on appeal to the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia.
iiNet has continued its winning streak with all five High Court
judges finding in its favour.
At issue in the High Court appeal was the question of whether
iiNet "authorised" the copyright infringement of its
customers who used a BitTorrent system to unlawfully download
copyright films and television programs (by failing to take steps
to stop the infringing conduct).
In short, the High Court held that:
the extent of iiNet's power to prevent the copyright
infringement of its customers was limited to terminating the
contractual relationship between them
the information contained in the notices it received from
copyright owners (AFACT notices) alleging copyright infringement
did not provide iiNet with a reasonable basis for sending warning
notices to individual customers threatening suspension or
iiNet's inactivity after receipt of the AFACT notices did
not give rise to an inference of authorisation (by countenancing or
otherwise) of any act of infringement by its customers.
Three of the five High Court judges further concluded that the
concept and principles of "authorisation" of copyright
infringement are not readily suited to enforcing rights of
copyright owners in respect of widespread infringements occasioned
by peer-to-peer file sharing.
The likely effect of this decision is that the film studios'
recourse to the courts will be limited to pursuing the primary
infringers and not the internet service providers. The decision may
also serve to put pressure on both government and industry to find
a negotiated solution to the problems faced by the film
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
As a licensor or a licensee, here are some tips you should consider when negotiating your next licence agreement.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).