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iiNet and TV Now Judgments

  • 14 May 2012
  • 17:00
  • Clayton Utz

There have been two recent high profile court decisions regarding online content distribution and copyright infringement which have a direct impact on copyright owners, the internet industry and Australian consumers. Please join us for a joint NSW Society for Computers and the Law and Internet Industry Association seminar on the iiNet and TV Now cases.

Illegal downloading of movies from the internet is widespread.  In 2008, in landmark action monitored worldwide, 34 major film and television companies, including Disney, Warner Bros. and the Seven Network, commenced proceedings against internet service provider iiNet alleging copyright infringement.  The issue at the heart of the case was whether an internet service provider is required to take steps - such as warning notices, internet suspension or termination - when its users share infringing films using a peer-to-peer file sharing system, such as BitTorrent.  The matter went all the way to the High Court, with iiNet ultimately vindicated in Roadshow Films Pty Ltd v iiNet Ltd [2012] HCA 16 (20 April 2012).


In mid 2011 Optus released a new subscription service – "TV Now" – which enabled a subscriber to record free to air television programmes and then play them back at the time(s) of the subscriber’s choosing on his or her compatible Optus mobile device or personal computer.  The AFL and NRL were displeased, as was Optus’ rival, Telstra, which had earlier signed a deal worth $153 million with the AFL for the exclusive online broadcast rights to AFL matches.  After rumblings about the legality of the service, Optus took the matter to the Federal Court with the aim of having the service declared legal.  While successful at first instance, the Full Federal Court held last Friday that Optus' has infringed copyrightNational Rugby League Investments Pty Limited v Singtel Optus Pty Ltd [2012] FCAFC 59 (27 April 2012).


Jim FitzSimons and Timothy Webb from Clayton Utz will be the presenters.  Jim is a partner in Corporate - TMT/IT and Tim is a Senior Associate in Litigation and Dispute Resolution who specialises in intellectual property.


Jim and Tim will provide an overview of the issues in both cases and answer questions, including:

  • does this mean ISPs can ignore copyright notices, and internet users can download films from BitTorrent, without fear?
  • what will the rights holders and ISPs do next, if anything, to prevent illegal movie downloads?

  • if TV Now is unlawful, how can Foxtel let customers record TV content on its Foxtel IQ device?

  • is Australia consistent with the rest of the world or out of step?  What legislative reform could be on the horizon?

  • what repercussions does this have for other cloud content e.g. users copying music files into the cloud?

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