Australian Movie Giant Considering Legal Action Against Pirates

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After his appointment earlier this week as chairman of education-based anti-piracy outfit Creative Content Australia, Graham Burke has hinted at more ominous plans. The Village Roadshow boss has revealed that not only is his company tracking pirates online, but is now "actively considering" tracking them down through the courts as well.

spongepirateEarlier this week a leading Australian anti-piracy outfit announced a rebranding exercise. Previously known as the IP Awareness Foundation (IPAF), the Hollywood affiliated group became Creative Content Australia, a name more closely associated with the support of artists.

At the same time the group announced several additions to its upper management, including the appointment of Graham Burke as chairman. Burke is the co-chief of Australia-based movie giant Village Roadshow and his aggressive stance towards piracy Down Under has been notable in recent years.

However, this week Creative Content Australia said its upcoming anti-piracy scheme would be education-based and would seek to target more casual downloaders. Re-educating hardcore pirates is not its aim, the group said. So does it necessarily follow that other file-sharers will be getting a free pass? Apparently not.

In an interview published by Crikey today (subscription), Burke (wearing his Village Roadshow hat) said that his company could take legal action against pirates in the future.

Noting that his company is already monitoring people sharing Village Roadshow content via peer-to-peer networks, Burke confirmed that his company could go down the legal route to identify pirates.

“It’s something we’re having a closer look at,” he said.

Given the recent failure of the Dallas Buyers Club case in Australia it was widely believed that Aussie companies would stay away from trying to mass identify pirates through the courts. However, Burke suggests that Village Roadshow would take a more considered approach.

“If we were to pursue it, we’d be doing it on the basis of a fair and reasonable approach. I think [Dallas Buyers Club] have a different approach,” he said.

According to the Crikey report Burke wouldn’t be drawn on when any case might be launched, instead noting that the option was “under active consideration”. That being said, Burke’s comments will come as a surprise to those who recall remarks he made during the summer of 2014.

“We don’t want to sue 16-year-olds or mums and dads,” Burke said. “It takes 18 months to go through the courts and all that does is make lawyers rich and clog the court system. It’s not effective.”

Perhaps the movie boss has something cheap, quick and effective up his sleeve now. If he has he could license it to Dallas Buyers Club, whose case enjoyed none of those qualities.


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