AFACT v iiNet: ISPs applaud decision

Service providers mull implications, await appeal

ISPs have welcomed the Federal Court's decision in favour of iiNet in is civil case with the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) but cautioned the full implications will take some time to become apparent.

Optus general manager of regulatory compliance, Gary Smith, said the telco had looked at the summary statement and would work through the full judgment to evaluate the implications.

"Based on our impressions on the summary statement we are cautiously optimistic of the principles that the decision may establish and are hoping to digest the full judgment to consolidate our understanding," Smith told Computerworld.

"We are also cognisant that there is every chance there may be an appeal — this is likely not be the final state of play. I think in terms of Optus as an ISP the findings were in part about practices and policies of iiNet and the factual circumstances of other ISPs may be different.

"We have to figure out whether there is a cross-the-board precedent or not given those circumstances. We are also aware that the government is also quite interested in the implications of this judgment and the implications it might have on its current legislative policy. Given all of those factors it is going to take a little time for the dust to clear and for us to take a broader assessment of the legal and policy implications."

Webshield managing director Anthony Pillon agreed the decision favoured the industry but said it remained to be seen whether or not AFACT would launch an appeal. AFACT has so far declined to say whether it would do so.

"For the immediate future it means that the ISPs are not beholden to take any particular action, although it might be worthwhile at an industry level sitting down with copyright holders to see things we can do to help lower infringement levels," Pillon said.

Representatives for ISP, Internode, told Computerworld the company would be reviewing the decision this week but declined to comment further.

The Internet Society of Australia (ISCO-AU) also applauded the decision.

"The Internet is an essential part of how Australians live, work and play and the Court has confirmed that ISPs are not required to be the gatekeepers of Internet use," ISOC-AU vice president, Narelle Clark, said in a statement.

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