Last month, members of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) and Australasian collecting society APRA AMCOS teamed up to file the music industry’s first ‘pirate’ site blocking application Down Under.
Filed at the Federal Court under section 115A of the Copyright Act 1968, member labels Universal Music, Warner Music, Sony Music and J Albert & Son demanded that leading torrent site KickassTorrents (KAT) should be blocked by the country’s ISPs.
“Online infringement continues to be a major threat to the sustainability of the Australian music industry. Illegal offshore sites like Kickass Torrents show a complete disrespect for music creators and the value of music,” said Jenny Morris OAM, Chair of the APRA Board.
But now, exactly one month later, the case has been temporarily suspended in an effort to cut down on costs. The problem lies with two other key cases already underway in Australia, both of which involve similar requests to block ‘pirate’ sites. All three are likely to become bogged down with the same problems.
The first involves a case brought by TV giant Foxtel which targets The Pirate Bay, Torrentz, isoHunt and TorrentHound. The second features the movie division of Village Roadshow, Roadshow Films, taking on streaming portal Solarmovie.
In those cases ISPs including TPG (including subsidiary iiNet), Optus, Telstra and M2 say they don’t intend to oppose the studios’ requests for a blockade. However, there is a dispute over who will pay for the blocks to be put in place. The ISPs feel they are innocent parties and shouldn’t be forced to finance the operation, the studios disagree. There is also a dispute over how the blocks will be carried out from a technical perspective.
With these problems in mind, the record labels appeared in court yesterday with a request for their case against KickassTorrents to be suspended until after the other cases have been settled. The labels see little point in going over the same ground in parallel and feel that agreement in the other cases will provide a template for theirs.
“Given that the form of relief is a major component of the dispute between Roadshow and Foxtel and the ISPs, and there’s been a considerable amount of time spent between the applicants and respondents negotiating forms of orders and final relief in an attempt to standardize the forms of order sought by the applications,” counsel for the music industry said.
“We propose deferral of consideration of the relief elements for this proceeding until after determination of the Foxtel and Roadshow applications.”
A delay, which would save time and money, was also endorsed by the Internet service providers.
“We want to minimize the costs that are expended. In that light it’s certainly prudent to come back after that other hearing,” Optus counsel said.
Justice Katzmann agreed to the delay and ordered a case management hearing for July 11 to take place after the film studios’ hearing next month. A final hearing will take place in October following a judgment in the film studios’ cases.