iiNet Could Offer Free Legal Services As Dallas Buyers Club Letters Loom
In a blog post, the ISP has outlined the process going forward following the Federal Court of Australia ordering iiNet along with a number of other Australian ISPs to hand over the details of customers alleged to have shared the film to Dallas Buyers Club LLC and Voltage Pictures LLC.
In total, iiNet and the ISPs have been ordered divulge the
names and physical addresses of the customers associated in their
records with each of 4,726 IP addresses. iiNet wrote that it is working with a law firm that has offered to provide pro-bono services for any of its customers, with more details to be provided when agreement is reached.
“There’s been plenty of discussion on the case and the outcome has brought mixed emotions,” iiNet wrote via its blog. “While Justice Perram granted the rights holders access to the customer data, he displayed a high degree of caution, considering the impact for both the rights holders and consumers.
“He ordered a number of important safeguards to protect our customers from being intimidated or threatened, which we know has occurred elsewhere in the world with these companies.”
iiNet wrote that it couldn’t sit by and have its customers “potentially bullied by the process of speculative invoicing”.
In arguing against preliminary discovery, iiNet and the ISPs had put forward that there was evidence suggesting speculative invoicing would take place, with Justice Perram imposing 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.
iiNet wrote via its blog it is now certain that shortly after May 21 that it will be ordered to hand over the details of customers whose accounts are suspected of being used to infringe copyright.
“While this isn’t the best case scenario, any subsequent letters that are issued by the rights holders will need to be approved by the court before they are sent to customers,” iiNet wrote.
“It is important to remember that the court’s findings in this case do not mean that DBC and Voltage’s allegations of copyright infringement have been proven. Any such letter is still only an allegation until an infringement is proven or admitted.”
iiNet noted that the costs could amount to less than a parking ticket for single instances of infringement.
“The judge did say that for single instances of infringement that damages could quite possibly be limited to the fee that would have been paid had the film been lawfully downloaded,” iiNet wrote. “This could be around $10.”