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Aussie ISP Says Show Us the Copyright Violators

iiNet tells rights groups it's against current law to just release user info

Aussie ISP Says Show Us the Copyright Violators

SYDNEY—The battle between Australian internet provider iiNet and copyright groups rages on.

Aussie anti-piracy group AFACT filed a lawsuit against iiNet because it refused to take action against alleged violators beyond sending out infringement notices, reports TechDirt. The ISP has argued that if it received a list of IP addresses of those proved to have committed violations on exact dates, it would move forward; otherwise, iiNet said, it was in fact against the law to release customer information and also cut off access based on allegations alone. The ISP also has said it's a law enforcement matter.

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Firing back, AFACT again is saying it's up to a service provider like iiNet to police all their users. An early victory in the lawsuit included iiNet being ordered to deliver a sample of user records. 

iiNet, however, is still standing firm on not wanting to violate Australian telecom act and the nation's privacy laws.

"Under the Act, it is illegal for iiNet to use customers' personal information in the manner demanded by AFACT without a court order or warrant," iiNet said in an official statement. "Breaches of the privacy provisions of the Act can attract a two-year gaol sentence."

The ISP went on to defend its position, arguing that "to examine customer communications on the basis of a third party's allegations would be a criminal act for us to engage in."

"Our starting position on this would be there is good public policy reasons for why Australia Post should not be opening your letters. And good reasons for why carriers should not be listening to your phone calls or looking at what you download," iiNet said. "Our view is that would constitute a criminal offence."

In another response, AFACT has called the argument creative, but has countered that IP address information is not protected under Aussie telcom laws and is not truly "confidential."

From the looks of it, the case could end up in Australia's version of the Supreme Court, and whichever way the decision goes could possibly impact court cases in other nations where ISPs and rights holders rep groups are squaring off in similar lawsuits.






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Edward Duncan

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