Sydney – A federal judge in Australia has ruled that Internet service
providers cannot be held liable for copyright infringements committed by their
subscribers, dealing a blow in a closely-watched lawsuit filed by U.S. movie
studios against Aussie ISP iiNet, according to published reports. Justice
Dennis Conroy found that, while it was shown that iiNet had knowledge that its
customers were committing copyright infringement, this knowledge did not equate
to "authorizing" the activities.

"While I find that iiNet had
knowledge of infringements occurring, and did not act to stop them, such findings
do not necessitate a finding of authorisation. I find that iiNet did not
authorise the infringements of copyright of the iiNet users," Justice
Conroy wrote in his ruling.

The ISP had refused to forward file-sharing warning
notices to its subscribers on behalf of the studios, saying they violated
privacy provisions in Australian law.

Instead, iiNet had taken to forwarding
the notices from copyright holders to the police, along with its own terms and
conditions showing it prohibited copyright infringement.

The lawsuit was
originally filed in November 2008, by a group of 34 studios and movie companies
that includes Universal, Warner Bros. (NYSE:  TWX), Paramount (NYSE:  VIA),
Sony (NYSE:  SNE), Fox (NYSE:  NWS) and Disney (NYSE:  DIS).


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(Sydney Morning Herald)