ISPs are not responsible for illegal downloading, says Australian court

Australian federal courts have decided that the country's second largest ISP, iiNet, is in no way responsible for the illegal actions of its subscribers.

In 2008, iiNet was sued by more than 30 film and television industry companies for copyright infringement; or more accurately, for the copyright infringement of its customers using BitTorrent to download pirated content. The group alleged that iiNet failed to take appropriate measures to stop customers from illegally sharing files with the P2P software.

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Among the plaintiffs in the case were Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Disney, and the Seven Network. Justice Dennis Cowdroy's ruling says there was no way to find iiNet liable for the behavior of its customers.

"It is impossible to conclude that iiNet has authorised copyright infringement," Cowdroy said today. "It did not have relevant power to prevent infringements occurring."

In response to the ruling, iiNet said, "We have never supported or encouraged breaches of the law, including infringement of the Copyright Act or the Telecommunications Act. Today's judgment is a vindication of that and the allegations against us have been proven to be unfounded. iiNet has always been, and will continue to be, a good corporate citizen and an even better copyright citizen."

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