In a first for Australia, a copyright owner has been
successful in forcing an internet service provider (ISP) to hand
over the contact details of internet account holders of about 4,700
IP addresses that have been identified as having been used to
download pirate versions of the movie Dallas Buyers
In Dallas Buyers Club LLC v iiNet Limited  FCA
317, the Federal Court entertained a preliminary discovery action
by the film's owners who were after the customer address detail
of those customers thought to be engaged in piracy though
BitTorrent downloads of the film. The ISPs resisted the handover of
private information. However, the Court considered the copyright
owner had a significant need to uncover the customer details.
To protect consumer and privacy interests, the copyright owner
was required to submit to the Court for review any correspondence
it was intending to send to the ISP customers, and to limit the use
of the customer information to the specific piracy issue. In
particular, the Court was keen to restrict the potential for the
copyright holder to engage in the practice of speculative
invoicing, which involves sending a demand for a large sum of money
in the expectation that a number of the 4,700 will meet the demand
in order to avoid the cost of litigation. The Court commented that
such a practice may not be legal in Australia in any event.
As a follow on from the decision, the ISP industry has quickly
formulated a voluntary code of conduct which is more favourable to
copyright holders, and anticipates that ISPs will be required to
hand over customer details of regular potential infringers on a
much more frequent basis.
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.
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leading Intellectual Property firms in 2015.
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