Court case could force one strike and you’re out on downloaders in Australia

The copyright case against Australia’s second largest ISP iiNet went to court today with an interesting twist: the entertainment industry wants iiNet to disconnect customers accused of illegal downloading as soon as they are notified.

The action against iiNet was filed in the Australian Federal Court by Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Disney and the Seven Network. The studios claim iiNet in effect “authorized” customers’ copyright infringement by failing to disconnect them when notified of the infringements by the movie studios.

iiNet told the court that they were was not required to act on a “mere allegation of copyright infringement” and that the case was “like suing the electricity company for things people do with their electricity”.

Asher Moses in the Sydney Morning Herald notes “if iiNet loses, all ISPs could be forced to disconnect customers identified by the movie studios as illegal downloaders.” Not three strikes and you’re out as is the case in France, or as recently proposed in New Zealand, but one accusation and you’re gone. Australia is starting to look more and more like China and Iran every day.