Anti-Piracy Group Loses In Court, Doesn’t Want To Pay Costs

At the beginning of February, AFACT, representing several Hollywood movie studios, lost its case against iiNet after the court decided that the ISP was not responsible for the infringements of its subscribers. Despite being ordered to pay all costs, AFACT says it will now go back to court in an attempt to avoid paying them.

AFACTEarlier this month, the Federal Court in Australia ruled in favor of ISP iiNet following a copyright infringement case brought by AFACT, the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft.

The studios it represents, Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Disney Enterprises, Inc. and the Seven Network took legal action against iiNet, claiming that the ISP did nothing to stop its customers from sharing copyright media via BitTorrent.

As part of the defeat, AFACT was ordered to pay iiNet’s legal costs, recently revealed to be a staggering $5.7 million ($5.08 million USD). Despite the ruling, AFACT says it will now return to court to avoid paying some of the costs. The anti-piracy group says that even though the final verdict went against them, elements of the trial went in their favor, so they believe they should not have to pay iiNet for defending those parts.

One area of claim was highlighted by AFACT spokesperson Rebecca Tabakoff, who said that early on in the trial iiNet conceded that its customers did indeed share copyright material, despite earlier claims they did not.

“[iiNet] spent a lot of time in the lead up to the trial not conceding that their customers had infringed copyright. The judge awarded all costs against applicants but iiNet was not successful on all fronts,” she explained.

Tabakoff indicated that AFACT would present other arguments to see if costs could be recouped elsewhere.

iiNet managing director Michael Malone believes that since AFACT lost the case, they should pay the costs.

“We didn’t ask to be sued. They came to us and sued us and they lost, so I don’t see why we should be paying any of their legal expenses,” Malone told ZDNet.

Malone says that money spent on legal action would be better off spent serving customers better.

“I look at the amount of money we have spent on litigation, and no doubt there would have been a lot more [spent] by the studios. Think of what that could have been spent on if it was applied to online content instead.”

This attempt by AFACT to challenge the instruction to pay iiNet’s legal costs will be heard on February 25th, the same day by which it must appeal the original ruling in order to take it to the High Court.

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