Will Conroy Jump Into Bed With AFACT?

Now that the iiNet vs AFACT court case has ended with a win for common sense, the discussion has moved to what's going to happen next. And the consensus seems to be that one of three things will happen: Either AFACT will appeal, they'll start suing individual pirates or they'll lobby the government to change the law so that ISPs will be held accountable for their customers actions. I have a feeling that this isn't going to end well...

Let's take a look at the different options: AFACT Appeals Despite the fact that the conclusion seemed like common sense to almost everyone, AFACT still has 21 days to decide whether or not they'll appeal the decision. There's the possibility that on appeal the verdict could be overturned, but guessing whether that would happen would be as reliable as guessing what the weather will be like in 12 months time. AFACT's lawyers will be looking long and hard at their chances right about now, and their decision will not be jumped into haphazardly.

AFACT Starts Suing Individuals This was a favourite tactic for the music industry, but it was also a failure. Despite some big wins, the people they sued generally had nowhere near the amount of money the companies were asking for in damages. Not to mention the amount of negative sentiment that comes from suing individuals, especially if they're downloading something that isn't legally available. If AFACT goes down this road, expect a backlash.

AFACT Sweet-talks Conroy Into Changing The Law This is the scariest alternative. Back when the court case first began, Conroy ridiculed the iiNet defence, clearly demonstrating that his personal feelings on the issue were clearly on the side of AFACT. AFACT believe that they lost the court case on a technicality - a technicality that they've already stated they want the Government to remedy. Considering Conroy's previous statements about the case - and piracy in general - not to mention his misguided plans to filter the Internet, this option seems more and more likely. It's kind of cynical, but really - if the law doesn't work out in your favour, just have the law changed.

It's funny that in all of this, nobody from AFACT's camp has said anything about improving the legal options for downloading their content in Australia. Considering the take-down notices customers from other ISPs are seemingly ignorant of geographical limitations placed on legal options, it's a sad situation when rather than learning from their loss, AFACT has instead opted to talk about driving blindly forward in a sea of litigation and lawyers.

For a lot more detailed information on the trial, as well as the outcome, both ITnews and ZDNet are leading the coverage.

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