On 16 December 2015, another chapter (and perhaps the final chapter) closed in the long running dispute between the rights holder of the film Dallas Buyers Club (DBC) and six Australian ISPs. Justice Perram of the Federal Court of Australia dismissed DBC’s application for preliminary discovery of the identities of over 4,000 Australian BitTorrent users who allegedly shared copies of the film.
As we reported in April 2015 (see here), Justice Perram initially ruled in favour of DBC ordering six ISPs to disclose the details of 4,726 customers. However, the Court was concerned this information would be used to write to account holders making demands for payments very much excess of what might actually be recovered in any actual suit (a practice known as “speculative invoicing”). To address this concern, the Court adopted the novel approach of making the release of account holder information conditional on DBC submitting for the Court’s approval a draft of the letter of demand proposed to be sent to the relevant account holders.