WikiLeaks reveals MPAA role in Oz

Org shown to be behind suit against ISP

SYDNEY — Cables from the U.S. ambassador to Australia, Robert McCallum, released by WikiLeaks have shown that the Motion Picture Association of America wanted to keep its role in an Aussie piracy court case low key to avoid looking like a giant American “bully.”

Instead of being involved directly, the MPAA got local piracy org the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft to file a suit against Internet service provider iiNet in 2008, which sought to hold the company responsible for its customers’ illegal downloading. The involvement of the major U.S. studios and Oz’s Seven Network was always known, but a direct link with the MPAA was never mentioned.

AFACT lost the case in 2010, but it was revealed last week that an appeal had been successful, and the case would now be heard by Oz’s High Court.

We will continue to defend our position in these proceedings if necessary,” said iiNet topper Michael Malone about the appeal.

I remain convinced that a genuine industry-wide solution is a better outcome for all concerned, and I’m hopeful it will be developed.”

IiNet was contacted by Variety about the new cable leak, but refused to make any further comment, saying that it was inappropriate when the matter was before the High Court.

The cables also make clear that iiNet was targeted because of its size. The AFACT suit avoided naming telco Telstra because it was a “big gun” that would put up a much tougher fight.

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