AFACT director to take the stand in civil case against iiNet

Battle in the Federal Court continues with iiNet due to finish its opening arguments

The civil action between the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) and ISP iiNet continues today, with AFACT’s executive director, Neil Gane, likely to take the stand as the first witness.

On the first day in the Federal Court of Australia in Sydney (October 6), AFACT presented a host of arguments, accusing iiNet of not doing enough to stop its customers using peer to peer networks (BitTorrent) to share copyrighted files.

Legal representatives for the film studios and TV stations claimed a 59-week investigation into iiNet and its customers discovered "rampant copyright infringements".

Civil case lawyers for AFACT - which represents the film studios - said "there were 94,942 instances of iiNet customers making available online unauthorised copies" of movies that included titles such as Batman Begins, Dark Knight and Harry Potter.

Yesterday, on October 7, AFACT finished its arguments and presented its key documents. One of the documents, sighted by Computerworld, showed email communications between key iiNet employees, including CEO Michael Malone, discussing how to deal with infringement notices.

In outlining iiNet’s arguments, however, senior counsellor, Richard Cobden, described AFACT case as a “novel composition and adventurous” and “a dramatic extension of the application of the law”.

He also alleged AFACT’s 94,942 claim was “artificially inflated by a contrived process”.

The case, being heard by Justice Cowdroy will run for two weeks on, two weeks break and then two weeks on again. It is expected, however, to be taken to the High Court regardless of who wins this round.

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Tags iiNetAustralian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT)Federal Court of Australia

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Kathryn Edwards

Computerworld
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