SYDNEY, Australia -- Australia's New South Wales Federal Court is considering whether an Internet Service Provider could be held liable for enabling illegal files to be shared on peer-to-peer networks.
The possible ruling does not bode well for major Aussie ISP iiNet, which will soon be heading to court, charged with aiding copyright infringement.
The Perth-based company, Australia's third largest ISP, will face off against rights holders - film studios -- represented by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft, reports The Australian.
Last year, AFACT filed a lawsuit claiming iiNet indirectly breached its members' copyrights by failing to block P2P file sharing. In February, the group amended the claim to add new charges of copyright infringement because the ISP carried the data in its network.
While iiNet's lawyers asked to have the recent claim removed from the lawsuit, Justice Dennis Cowdroy of the Federal Court in Sydney instead told AFACT Tuesday to present further evidence supporting the claim before it is stricken from the filing.
According to Western Australia Today, the studios, led by Village Roadshow Pictures, allege that iiNet directly engaged in copyright infringement by providing "the intermediate and transient storage of, or further or alternatively, the caching of copyright
The judge said if Roadshow and the other studios establish an infringement of copyright, "such findings may provide a basis to extend any injunctive relief to the whole film catalogue," the judge said.
The companies claiming infringement also include Universal Pictures, Warner Bros Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Disney Enterprises and the Seven Network.
iiNet may submit a second motion to have the claim removed once it has seen AFACT's evidence.
"The court is mindful that if the evidence of Roadshow proves inadequate to satisfy the requisite burden of proof, such claim will fail," the judge added.
Aussie legal experts believe the charge will be questioned during the upcoming trial set for later this year, though an exact date has not been set.
In March iiNet withdrew from the Australian government's much publicized Internet filter trials, stating that the scheme had gone from child protection to wider censorship. In retaliation, Communications Minister attacked the ISP on Aussie television. '
While copyright laws certainly vary from region to region and country to country, the world is watching, including the adult industry, as it mounts up for battles against Internet piracy.