15 April 2009

Film studios battle iiNet in court

A group of film studios fighting internet provider iiNet for allegedly allowing copyright movies to be illegally shared between customers has been told by the Federal Court to produce more evidence.

The syndicate of studios, headed by Village Roadshow, hopes to prove iiNet not only failed to take steps to stop illegal file-sharing by customers but breached copyright itself by storing and transmitting the data through its system.

The internet provider wanted the claim alleging it had breached copyright struck out, but in the Federal Court in Sydney on Wednesday, Justice Dennis Cowdroy ruled the claim could stay, instead ordering the film companies to provide more supporting information.

"Rather than strike out ... or enter judgment on this issue, the court will require Roadshow to amend the conversion claim to specify exactly what the infringing copies are, how they are created and at least one instance of them," he said in his ruling.

That order constituted a partial victory on a significant issue for iiNet.

Justice Cowdroy also ruled that any hearing on damages be separate to the copyright proceedings relating to the 86 films allegedly infringed.

iiNet failed to limit the implications of the case to those 86 films from the Roadshow's catalogue.

"If Roadshow establishes an infringement of copyright in the 86 films, such finding may provide a basis to extend any injunctive relief to the whole film catalogue," Justice Cowdroy said.

iiNet had also sought to have a claim struck out alleging its users had copied the downloaded films onto DVD to watch and distribute.

The allegation is based on conversations on internet forums about making DVDs from downloaded copies of films, which iiNet says are irrelevant because the people are unidentified and live in different countries with different copyright regimes.

But Justice Cowdroy said: "Such evidence may be sufficient to enable Roadshow to argue that inferences should be drawn that the conduct complained of ... is occurring.

"The court is mindful that if the evidence of Roadshow proves inadequate to satisfy the requisite burden of proof, such claim will fail."

The companies, Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Disney Enterprises and the Seven Network, launched the action against iiNet in November.

Both parties were ordered to pay their own costs.

The matter has been set down for a directions hearing on July 29

ninemsn 15 Apr 2009

The Hollywood Financial Lobby will be successful in it's bid to stop people 'stealing' from them.

The financial purse strings in Hollywood are kept by four families.

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