Thought that you might get away with downloading Dallas Buyers Club if you weren't an iiNet customer? Far from being a sacrificial lamb, iiNet and the other six ISPs caught up in the Voltage Pictures trial were just the first in line for litigation. DBC intends to chase other Australian ISPs to match their captured IP address details with real names and addresses of Aussies it says have illegitimately downloaded the Dallas Buyers Club movie.
Talking to Triple J's Hack current affairs program yesterday, Marquee Lawyers managing partner and counsel for Voltage, Michael Bradley, said that the iiNet legal battle was effectively a test case, and that it would establish a precedent for the company to pursue other ISPs in Australia both large and small and petition them — whether inside or outside of a courtroom — to access their user data.
According to iTnews, DBC and representatives of iiNet, Dodo and other ISPs argued in court yesterday over the wording of the letters that will be sent to the 4726 alleged copyright infringers caught up in Voltage Pictures' dragnet.
Two different letters are proposed to be sent out — one to residential and end-user business customers of the ISPs, and one to operators of free Wi-Fi hotspots like cafes and restaurants; the latter will try to educate ISP customers on what to do about free Wi-Fi users infringing copyright with their connections, while the former will almost certainly take the form of a request for payment.
Judge Nye Perram presiding the case yesterday, as in previous sittings, reinstated his concern about the wording of the letters, due to Voltage Pictures' ability to alter their content without any legal ramifications due to being located out of the Australian courts' jurisdiction. The ISPs concerned have asked for a security deposit of $108,000 to connect their records of customer IP addresses with real names and residential addresses; this process isn't easily automated and would require at least half an hour's effort for each user record at the ISP's end.
iiNet will offer some legal assistance to those customers who receive letters, but the exact nature of that assistance — whether it is a pro-bono consultation with lawyers, help with potential legal fees, or simply an online guide to the legal process and guidance on customers' rights — is still unclear.
The draft letters will be delivered to Justice Perram to vet by June 4, and both the ISPs and Voltage will be back in court on June 18 to discuss the matter of legal oversight of the letters' content, sending them to customers, and the $108,000 security requested by ISPs. [iTnews / iiNet]