iiNet Loses Piracy Fight, Ordered To Hand Over Customer Details
Justice Perram has ruled in favour of Dallas Buyers Club LLC’s application for preliminary discovery, ordering the ISPs divulge the names and physical addresses of the customers associated in their records with each of 4,726 IP addresses.
The other ISPs ordered to hand over customer details are Internode, Amnet Broadband, Dodo Services, Adam Internet and Wideband Networks.
“My conclusions are these: I will order the ISPs to divulge the names and physical addresses of the customers associated in their records with each of the 4,726 IP addresses,” Perram stated in the ruling.
“I will impose upon the applicants a condition that this information only be used for the purposes of recovering compensation for the infringements and is not otherwise to be disclosed without the leave of this court.”
Perram additionally imposed the condition that a draft of any letter proposed to be sent to account holders associated with the IP addresses first be submitted to the court for approval.
In arguing against preliminary discovery, the ISPs had put forward there was evidence suggesting speculative invoicing would take place.
In the ruling, Perram noted “there is no doubt” Dallas Buyers Club LLC’s parent company Voltage Pictures had engaged in speculative invoicing in the past.
“There were a number of instances put before me of Voltage having written, in the United States, very aggressive letters indicating to the identified account holder a liability for substantial damages and offering to settle for a smaller (but still large) sum,” Perram stated.
“Mr Wickstrom[Michael Wickstrom, Voltage vice president of royalties and music administration] gave evidence that this would not be happening in Australia. My impression was that Mr Wickstrom would act as aggressively as he was legally permitted, a proposition from which counsel for the applicants, Mr Pike SC, did not dissent.”
The ruling comes as ISPs and an alliance of rights holders work to develop a code of practice for dealing with copyright infringement, following the federal government last year requesting collaboration on the issue.
Under a draft code, a series of three infringement notices is proposed over a 12-month period, comprising an eduction notice, a warning notice and a final notice.
The ISPs had put forward that the court should wait until the code was in place as a reason against granting preliminary discovery.
“The submission the ISPs made to this court was that the possibility that the code would come into existence was a reason for me not to order preliminary discovery because alternative avenues existed to deal with the problem,” Perram stated.
“I do not accept this argument for a number of reasons. First, it is only a draft. Secondly, it is an incomplete draft. Thirdly, there is no sensible chance of it coming into force in the next few months. In these circumstances, the draft code provides no reason to decline relief.”
It is not yet clear whether iiNet and the other ISPs will appeal the decision.