ISP Ordered To Hand Over Records of Pirate Customers

Several studios are currently taking legal action against Australian ISP iiNet. They accuse iiNet of failing to take steps to stop its subscribers from sharing files by disconnecting them from the Internet. Now iiNet has been ordered to hand over the personal details and logs relating to twenty alleged pirates, to anti-piracy group AFACT.

The battle between several studios – Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Disney Enterprises, Inc. and the Seven Network (under the umbrella of AFACT), against Australian ISP iiNet continues to drag on. AFACT had demanded that iiNet disconnected alleged copyright infringers but the ISP refused.

Earlier we reported how AFACT had got an individual to sign up as an iiNet customer and commit a kind of ‘authorized copyright infringement’ in order to gather evidence on alleged pirates. AFACT then complained to iiNet of this individual’s ‘infringements’ but iiNet took no action against him, boosting the claims that the ISP knew about piracy, but did nothing about it.

Now, according to an iTNews report, iiNet has been ordered by Australia’s Federal Court to hand over the records of twenty ‘pirate’ customers. The information will include IP addresses allocated to these individuals and their “download histories” – it is far from clear what these records will consist of or how detailed they are.

The information will be used as evidence in the case, but fortunately for these twenty individuals, information which personally identifies them will be removed. The disclosures could’ve been even greater in number, since Steve Dalby from iiNet told iTnews that AFACT originally wanted the details from 300-400 customer accounts to be handed over.

An AFACT spokesman confirmed that several of the twenty accounts had been nominated by the anti-piracy group since these were tracked transferring material by their investigator.

Executive Director of AFACT Adrianne Pecotic commented, “We are confident that the sample of twenty accounts ordered by the Court to be provided by iiNet will be more than adequate to illustrate the infringing behaviour of iiNet’s subscribers.”

On the other side, iiNet has voiced concern that so far AFACT has refused to hand over documents which would reveal if it made copyright-related demands such as those outlined in this case to ISPs other than iiNet. Steve Dalby of iiNet said they were trying to work out why AFACT and its Hollywood paymasters had chosen to pick on one Australian ISP to take action.

“AFACT hasn’t told us what it is we didn’t do; they have simply said we didn’t take reasonable steps to stop copyright infringement on our network. What we’re trying to understand is what arrangements are defined as reasonable,” iiNet’s Dalby told iTnews.

“There are 400 ISPs operating in Australia. If we were expected to take specific actions that nobody else is required to undertake, we would argue that is quite unreasonable. So we are asking AFACT the question while under the confidentiality of the court – what agreements do you have with other ISPs?”

iNet will get their way on this request, as the court has ruled that the ISP can see any “form of demand” AFACT has served on other ISPs in Australia.

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