iiNet Has Almost Won Its Dallas Buyers Club Piracy Case

iiNet has almost won its case against Dallas Buyers Club LLC in the Federal Court, marking the start of the final stage in what will be a landmark judgement for copyright infringement law in Australia.

Business Insider reports that the ruling by Justice Nye Perram has moved to dismiss the case entirely, unless DBC files for an appeal in the next 60 days before mid-February. Almost 5000 iiNet account holders were potentially on the hook for what may have been thousands of dollars in damages per download of the Dallas Buyers Club movie. Now, unless DBC and its lawyers act, the case will fail.

In April, DBC was provisionally granted access to the details of the 4726 iiNet customers, but a stay on the order was implemented by Justice Perram, who wanted assurance that the film studio wouldn't harass account holders for excessive punitive damages fees. A $600,000 bond was also implemented after Perram was given a draft copy of DBC's letter, which asked for alleged infringers' personal details and annual salaries.

After resubmitting a draft letter significantly lessening their demands upon customers, DBC proposed a $60,000 bond and a trial section of 472 iiNet customers, in a last-ditch submission to the court last week. Today, Perram has moved to dismiss the proceedings entirely. “What I will do is make a self-executing order which will terminate the proceedings on Thursday 11 February 2016 at noon, unless DBC takes some step before then,” reads Perram's ruling.

“Some finality must now be brought to these proceedings.”


Comments

    Big ups to Justice Nye Perram for making sure they aren't just using this as a means to make money.

    I don't understand, Dallas Buyers Club still has 60 days. Are we assuming they won't act in that time?

      They asked for an adjournment beyond that I believe, so they have already had heaps of time, and have asked for more time to tell the court their distribution costs.

      By what I read into it...DBC are not satisfying the courts ruling to ensure that there will be no punitive damages sought from potential infringers. The judges ruling was very specific in that he will not allow any potential stand over tactics of potential infringers by demanding thousands of dollars or risk being sued for hundreds of thousands. This meant that people who are innocent but vulnerable may pay the thousands rather than risk being sued and having to pay more. Those sorts of tactics may go down in USA but that tactic will not fly in Oz. Both times DBC failed to show they are not willing to ensure this because the process they submitted were so obviously designed to navigate around the court order and basically it looks like the judge is giving them one more chance or he'll just close the case.

      Will DBC bother....maybe not because they want a big payday not just a few bucks (eg $10-$30) from each potential infringer.

      Last edited 17/12/15 9:09 am

    "unless DBC files for in the next 60 days"

    ... files for what in the next 60 days?

      Provides information on distribution costs

    Great to see that the Aussie courts aren't just bending over backwards for these Copyright trolls, unlike their USA counterparts. Copyright Infringement is wrong, but that doesn't mean that companies like DBC LLC should be able to extort thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars or more from individual people just for downloading one movie.

    To my mind, the best "punishment" for infringements would be the price of obtaining the film/tv show legally times a factor of 2 or 3. In other words, getting caught for downloading DBC would cost the individual no more than $40 or $60 based on the current price at JB Hi-Fi. That is a reasonable disincentive without bankrupting someone.

    Ideally though, studios would have already got the damn message and started offering all of their content fast, cheap and without any DRM. I wonder how long it's going to take before that idea gets drilled into their collective skulls.

      Ideally though, studios would have already got the damn message and started offering all of their content fast, cheap and without any DRM. I wonder how long it's going to take before that idea gets drilled into their collective skulls.

      Yer Netflix has proven this. Piracy has dropped so much in the states since it's introduction. Adapt or die. Netflix is doubling it's own shows year on year (and they're pretty good too) - if the big corps don't look at the data they'll end up being gobbled up by others.

        Repeat from when iTunes came into existence. Turns out people are willing to pay when prices are reasonable and the product is easily available...go figure! ITunes succeeded because people only want to buy the songs they like rather than pay $30 for an entire CD when there is only one or two songs they like. Netflix is succeeding because people want movies reasonably priced and easily available rather than buy a DVD with forced copyright messages and 10 minutes of movie advertising that cannot be bypassed.

      Ideally though, studios would have already got the damn message and started offering all of their content fast, cheap and without any DRM. I wonder how long it's going to take before that idea gets drilled into their collective skulls.

      Oh the idea is already in their skulls; they just don't want to adapt because they can choose to do so.

      Sometimes, there isn't a reason. A person commits an act because he or she can and DBC LLC is no different.

      This is what gets me about the whole DBC case. Justice Perram was willing to give them the info, if they werent going to gouge the consumer. Which was made VERY clear, on more than one occasion.

      So what does DBC do? Set things up so they can gouge MORE! DBC have just established what everyone has been saying all along. They werent interested in preventing downloads, they were interested in using the excuse as a revenue stream.

      If they had come back with something in the range of $100-$200, they would have gotten the 4000 names. Instead, they try to add a zero to that range and got shot down for it.

      Read behind it though, and Justice Perram WAS willing to give the info. It was the studios greed that stopped that happening, not Perram.

        I imagine it's to do with setting the 'standard'
        If they just said "oh, lets just charge them $30 per copy and be done with it" then that's pretty much what it would be for every similar case that follows.

        However if they manage to gouge $4,000. per person then that would essentially be the 'standard' for any following cases that are similar in nature.

        I wonder if they are using the time to try and spend money on legal stuff and anything else related to monitoring, just to try blow out how much their 'damages' cost them, in order to try gouge people for more? or am I being way to cynical? :P

          Yeah I agree, but it was stupid of them, and it amazes me they didnt see it.

          But they didnt need to set it at $30, they could have worked downwards until the courts were happy. A couple of hundred and its a no brainer they get what they want. A precedent that creates a systemic approach to getting that much per downloader, without the three strikes process.

          Hell, it wouldnt have surprised me if Justice Perram would have been happy with $1000.

          As for your last point, I wonder the same. They've spent a lot of money chasing 4000 downloaders, it makes you wonder why.

      Great to see that the Aussie courts aren't just bending over backwards for these Copyright trolls, unlike their USA counterparts

      It's not the courts that are bending over backwards, it's the politicians owned by the media congloms who happily greenlit absurd statutory damages.

      Same thing those Village Roadshow Cockmouths keep trying to push here.

      I would accept 150 + the cost.
      Its like parking. No one cares about $60 bucks. When you hit 150 you really think harder

    This is very good.

    It's a shame it's made moot by a recent law change forcing ISP's to hand over such details anyway (Why DBC have not used that here, I will never know) but it's still a good victory

      What law are you referring to?

        I believe the three strikes piracy law that got signed in this year. The reason why they haven't acquired details through that avenue is because all these alleged infringements occurred prior to the law, which requires three notices to be sent because copyright holders can obtain details from ISPs. Any notice sent by DBC now can only be considered a first notice. Can't exactly send all three after the fact.

          The proposed code of practice has yet to be implemented as the ISPs and rights holders have been unable to agree on who will pay the costs associated with implementing the scheme.

          The scheme itself offers facilitated discovery provided certain steps are taken. My understanding is that the rights holders will still need to seek a discovery ruling from a court, but under the scheme the ISPs won't oppose the application provided the correct steps have been taken. The scheme does not prevent the process from being bypassed by the rights holder and a DBC style discovery application from being made. The ISP would not be under any obligation to facilitate discovery in the latter case.

    Amazing! they had an opportunity to sue everyone for $500 and get over with it, but what's $500 x $5000 ? $2.5M, of which $0.5M for the lawyers that remains $2M

    The DVD retails at $7 in Amazon (new), so $2M is the equivalent of them selling 285,000 copies

    This is pure profit, those 285,000 would have cost them almost $1M in actual DVD hardware, prints, storage, transport etc.

    Asking people for their annual salaries? go ask the ATO!

      500 x 5,000?
      Why settle when you can try for 5,000 x 5,000 !!!

        From the little that I know about law:

        "1. The Court never enforces "penalties"
        2. The Court only enforces "liquidated damages"
        3. When you go to court to make a claim, make sure you have solid calculations demonstrating your claim"

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