AFACT v iiNet: Barrister Tears Into iiNet Key Witnesses

The case continues between anti-piracy group AFACT and Aussie ISP iiNet. As AFACT makes its closing submissions, their chief barrister Tony Bannon has torn into the evidence and credibility of iiNet's key witnesses, CEO Michael Malone and chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby.

AFACTThe trial continues in the copyright infringement case of AFACT – representing several Hollywood studios – and Aussie ISP iiNet (links to our earlier coverage can be found here)

The case continued in the Federal Court, with AFACT making its closing submissions and tearing into iiNet witnesses CEO Michael Malone and chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby.

The film industry, represented by chief barrister Tony Bannon, labeled Malone’s evidence as “incredible”, “evasive” and unreliable. Bannon said iiNet gave nothing but excuses for not acting on such notices and that Malone’s assertion that copyright laws should should be changed or an industry code introduced before he could act on infringement notices were “extreme”.

Since only Malone and Dalby appeared for cross-examination on behalf of iiNet, Bannon took the opportunity to criticize the company for not putting forward other staff from the company, who, Bannon claimed, would be better placed to answer the questions during the trial.

Bannon said this had put Malone and Dalby in the position of providing evidence on matters they knew nothing about, citing the pair’s lack of BitTorrent knowledge as a prime example.

“To put forward these two gentleman as the extent of familiarity of BitTorrent in the company is an entirely inaccurate picture of a company which plainly has a mass of technical expertise,” said Bannon, as reported by ITNews.

“It beggars belief that a company which paints itself as an Internet pioneer doesn’t have a level of knowledge within that company that knows exactly how the BitTorrent client works,” he added.

On an earlier claim where the iiNet CEO claimed to understand the BitTorrent protocol by not the operation of a torrent client, Bannon said it was a nonsense, to which insult to injury was added when it was revealed that iiNet operated its own BitTorrent tracker.

Bannon said it was clear to him that the only individuals in the court who claimed to know little to nothing about torrents were Malone and Dalby, but in reality the company understood the system perfectly well. Its motive for this stance, he said, was so that the company could distance itself from the accusations of authorizing the copyright infringements of their customers.

Bannon also heavily criticized Dalby’s evidence when he claimed to have the company’s policy on taking action only against repeat infringers “in his head”, insisting that no such policy exists.

iiNet is also asking the court to find its own terms and conditions both unenforceable and unreasonable, said Bannon as quoted by CW.

Although iiNet has asserted time and again in the case, that if a court ruled that someone had infringed copyright the ISP would disconnect them, the AFACT barrister said that iiNet’s own terms alone gave them the right to disconnect copyright infringers, and dismissed the ISP’s claims that the clause was unenforceable.

AFACT claims that iiNet engaged in secondary acts of infringement when it failed to stop its subscribers sharing illicit files on their network, citing the legal principles established in the 1975 case known as University of NSW v Moorhouse, details of which can be found here.

According to another report, the case could run over into a fifth week to 19th November and beyond to allow enough time for iiNet lawyers to prepare the company’s closing submissions.

The case continues.

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