×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Australian Court Severely Limits ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Online Piracy Test Case

An Australian court has severely crimped the ability of a film rights holder to pursue individuals who may have illegally watched its film online.

In a landmark ruling earlier this year, Australia’s Federal Court said that Dallas Buyers Club LLC and Voltage Pictures could require Internet service providers including iiNet to hand over details of some 4,726 individuals in Australia who had watched the the 2013 movie “Dallas Buyers Club” for free via BitTorrent.

But in a ruling on Friday, Federal judge Justice Nye Perram removed much of the bite of the earlier ruling.

Perram said that Dallas Buyers Club should post a A$600,000 (US$441,000) bond before it could have access to the subscriber data and send letters seeking payment from the alleged copyright infringers.

Perram said that his decision was intended to prevent Dallas Buyers Club LLC from intimidating Internet users and to prevent it from profiting from doing so, a practice known as “speculative invoicing.”

In a previous ruling in May on the same case Perram had required Dallas Buyers Club LLC to show the court the text of the letters it would send, and also show the court the prepared transcript of phone calls its agents might make to the alleged infringers.

“Having had access to what it is that DBC proposes to demand … and the potential revenue it might make if it breached its undertaking to the Court not to demand such sums, it seems to me that I should set the bond at a level which will ensure that it will not be profitable for it to do so,” Perram said.

He also explained that as Dallas Buyers Club LLC has no legal presence in Australia the courts would have no sanction over the company if it were in breach of its rulings.

The company was understood to be seeking four kinds of payment from the alleged infringers: for downloading and making a permanent copy; a one-off license fee for redistributing the film by uploading it; further damages based on how many films the infringer had stored on their computer; and, reimbursement of Dallas Buyers Club LLC’s costs in pursuing the infringers.

Perram said that he had agreed with payments for downloading and retrieving the cost of the action. But he said that Dallas Buyers Club LLC’s court action also failed because he denied the one-off license cost and penalizing infringers for other movies.

Australia has high levels of Internet piracy and has seen a number of different cases go to court, most of which have favoured the ISPs. The platforms have argued that the film and TV industries in Australia should do more to provide legal alternatives to piracy by setting up online video services that deliver content quickly and cheaply.

Australia now has more than four native streaming video services. In March they were joined by Netflix, which in only a matter of months is understood to have become the market leader.

More Biz

  • Plume of black smoke rising from

    Attorney for Universal Music Artists Impacted by 2008 Fire Requests Inventory

    Following on its statements last week that it will be filing a lawsuit on behalf of several Universal Music recording artists impacted by a 2008 fire that destroyed a huge number of master recordings, a Los Angeles law firm has requested a “complete inventory” from the company. Addressed to UMG CEO and chairman Lucian Grainge, [...]

  • Charles Caldas To Step Down as

    Charles Caldas To Step Down as Merlin CEO

    Charles Caldas, the only CEO that the independent-label collective Merlin has ever known, announced today that he will step down from his post at the end of 2019, after more than 12 years at the helm of the global rights organization. He will continue his current duties until then and work with the Merlin board to [...]

  • Merlin Reports Record Distributions for 2019

    Merlin Reports Record Distributions for 2019

    Global indie-label collective Merlin reported record distributions in its 2019 membership report, paying $845 million to label and distributor members between April 2018 and March of this year. That figure, a 63% year-over-year increase, includes more than $130 million paid out this year from non-royalty income — and included in that figure is the estimated [...]

  • Dwyane Wade on Supporting His Son

    NBA Star Dwyane Wade on Supporting His Son's Attendance at Miami Pride

    NBA star Dwyane Wade spoke to Variety about why it was important for him to support his younger son attending a pride parade last spring. In April, Wade’s then 11-year-old son Zion posted pictures of himself at Miami Pride, with his siblings and stepmother Gabrielle Union. Wade, who was on the road with the Miami [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    Songs for Screens: How Eric Church Teamed With Ram Trucks — and Five Tons of Vinyl — for ‘Solid’ Campaign

    Country star Eric Church has long used his new music to reward his loyal fans, from surprise releasing 2015’s “Mr. Misunderstood” album as a direct fan-club exclusive to impromptu meet-and-greets before his hometown show in Greensboro, North Carolina. So when Church was prepping the April vinyl release of 2018’s critically acclaimed “Desperate Man,” the singer [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein legal team

    Harvey Weinstein Loses Another Defense Lawyer

    Harvey Weinstein has lost another defense lawyer, just three months before he is set to go on trial for rape and sexual assault. Attorney Jose Baez told the judge overseeing the case that Weinstein had taken actions that made it difficult to represent him, according to a letter obtained by the New York Post. Baez [...]

  • https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2019/06/kindred_spirits_2019_v7.jpg

    Kindred Spirits Host Fundraiser for Child Refugees

    The Kids Entertainment Professionals for Young Refugees will host its third annual Kindred Spirits fundraising campaign this month on behalf of UNICEF and in coordination with World Refugee Day, which is Thursday. The grassroots, volunteer organization’s online fundraiser will take place from June 14-27, and 100% of every donation made will benefit UNICEF. “We call [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content