Movie giants lose file sharing case in Australia

An Australian Internet provider cannot be held responsible when its users illegally download movies, a judge said Thursday in a ruling against major film companies.

A group of 34 movie companies, including Australian branches of Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox, claimed Australia’s third-largest Internet provider, iiNet, breached their film copyrights by failing to stop users from illegally sharing files.

Federal Court Justice Dennis Cowdroy ruled that while iiNet knew its users violated copyrights, the provider didn’t have the power to stop such activities and it was impossible to conclude iiNet authorized the infringements.

iiNet Managing Director Michael Malone welcomed the ruling and said his company wanted to work with the film companies to find ways iiNet users could access movies legally.

Neil Gane, the executive director of the industry group that represents the film companies, said the outcome was disappointing and an appeal would be considered.

Associated Press