Archive: April 9, 2015

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Australian ISPs Ordered to Hand Over Customer Details in P2P Copyright Action

Australian ISPs Ordered to Hand Over Customer Details in P2P Copyright Action

Dallas Buyers Club LLC v iiNet Limited [2015] FCA 317

In November 2014, IP Law Watch reported on attempts by the rights holder of the film Dallas Buyers Club to compel Australian ISPs to disclose the identities of BitTorrent users who allegedly shared copies of the film.

On 7 April 2015, Justice Perram of the Federal Court of Australia ruled in favour of Dallas Buyers Club LLC and Voltage Pictures LLC, ordering six ISPs to disclose the details of 4,726 customers.

The judgment has been widely reported in the Australian media as a landmark decision and a game changer in the battle regarding online piracy.  In fact, the kind of order granted by Justice Perram is far from revolutionary.  For many years, civil procedure rules at both state and federal levels have enabled a party to seek orders requiring a third party to produce documents or give evidence as to the identity of a prospective respondent.  There are decisions going back as far as the 1970s in which this kind of preliminary discovery order has been granted (see for example Exley v Wyong Shire Council (10 December 1976, Master Allen, unreported) and Stewart v Miller [1979] 2 NSWLR 128).

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