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Australia court orders ISPs to disclose information about illegal downloaders

[JURIST] The Federal Court of Australia [official website] on Tuesday ordered [judgment] six Internet service providers (ISPs) to hand over information about alleged illegal downloaders of the US film Dallas Buyer's Club. The case was filed by the US company that owns the rights to the movie as a preliminary discovery application to determine the identity of unknown respondents. The company asserted that it has identified 4,726 unique IP addresses from which the film was illegally shared and downloaded over the BitTorrent website without permission. After the names and addresses of individuals that hold these IP address are received, the company must prove that they committed copyright infringement. Per the judgment, the company must submit to the court a draft of any letter it proposes to send to these individuals. The court referenced the need to provide deterrence of copyright infringement:

It is not beyond the realm of possibilities that damages of a sufficient size might be awarded ... in an appropriately serious case in a bid to deter people from the file sharing of films. There is no need to speculate on what those damages might be. For present purposes, it is enough only to observe that the ISPs' submission that what the rights owners have in mind is frivolous or de minimis is a submission which does not afford sufficient weight to the genuine rights which here exist, and which are expressly recognised by statute.
Various countries have struggled in recent years with Internet piracy and copyright infringement. In November the founder of file-sharing website The Pirate Bay was arrested [JURIST report] when he was trying to cross from Laos into Thailand after he was convicted of aiding copyright infringement. Last April the Senate of Brazil passed a bill [JURIST report] that eliminates ISPs' liability for content published by their users and requires providers to remove offensive materials following court orders. Last March Viacom and Google settled [JURIST report] a copyright infringement lawsuit that Viacom had filed against Google's YouTube website for allowing clips of Viacom's television programs to be posted without authorization. In June 2013 Russia passed an anti-piracy bill [JURIST report] that allows websites to be blocked by ISPs upon copyright infringement claims. In 2012 the Spanish government approved a law [JURIST report] that created a government agency with the authority to force ISPs to block certain websites that are involved in pirating copyright materials.

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