Court had cleared website of piracy charge

SYDNEY — Down but not out, Hollywood studios — including Universal Pictures, Warner Bros., Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox and Disney — have appealed against an Australian Federal Court judgment indemnifying an Internet service provider against pirate activity.

The ruling, handed down earlier this month, said ISP iiNet was not responsible for the actions of its users, saying it “did not have relevant power to prevent infringements occurring.”

On Thursday, the 34 combined film and TV companies, under the banner of the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft lodged an appeal saying the decision was out of step with copyright law.

“The court found large-scale copyright infringements that iiNet knew were occurring — that iiNet had the contractual and technical capacity to stop — and iiNet did nothing about them,” said Afact topper Neil Gane. “In line with previous case law, this would have amounted to authorisation of copyright infringement. If this decision stands, the ISPs have all the protection without any of the responsibility.”

iiNet said the appeal was regrettable and would not stop online piracy.

The appeal will be heard later this year.

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