A Federal Court judge has ordered several Australian internet service providers, including iiNet, to hand over to a film studio the identities of thousands of account holders whose internet connections were allegedly used to share, without authorisation, the movie ‘Dallas Buyers Club’.
In the landmark decision, Justice Nye Perram of the Federal Court granted the application of the film studio for preliminary discovery, a procedure in which internet providers will be forced to share all relevant documents with the film studio. This means that if you have downloaded ‘Dallas Buyers Club’, you could be in the cross hairs.
What should I do if I receive a letter of demand?
Prior to commencing proceedings, the movie studio engaged an internet auditor to identify the IP addresses of anyone in Australia who had illegally downloaded the movie. Now that the internet providers are compelled to provide to the studio their customer details, a simple cross check will identify all downloaders.
If a member of your household has purposely or accidently downloaded the movie and you receive a letter from the studio, do not fret immediately. Prior to commencing proceedings against individuals for the recovery of lost revenue, the studio will be required to personally identify the user. This will be difficult in a situation where there are numerous users on the same IP address. If they cannot prove your personal responsibility for the download, it will be challenging for them to press their claim against you.
If you receive a letter of demand, please contact the dispute resolution team at Atkinson Vinden to discuss your options.