Federal Court deals Dallas Buyers Club major blow in illegal download case

The copyright holders of the Oscar award winning film will have to pay a bond of $600,000 before obtaining the names and addresses of Australians who allegedly downloaded Dallas Buyers Club, according to a ruling handed down in the Federal Court on Friday.

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Dallas Buyers Club LLC and Voltage Pictures LLC had sought the details of people who they claim pirated the film, so that they could offer then the option of a fine rather than court action over copyright infringement.

They had targeted six Australian telcos – iiNet, Internode, Dodo, Amnet, Adam Internet and Wideband Networks – associated with more than 4700 IP addresses that were used to share the movie using BitTorrent.

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Justice Nye Perram granted an application earlier this year, but on Friday ruled a stay on the order for providers to hand over details.

Justice Perram’s ruling stated that the purpose of the stay was to ensure that DBC did not engage “in what the respondent ISPs referred to as ‘speculative invoicing’”.

“DBC has now sought to lift the stay and has proffered to the Court several versions of what it proposes to say to the account holders, together with an undertaking only to communicate in those terms,” he stated.

“I have concluded that what DBC proposes ought not be permitted.”

iiNet CEO David Buckingham told SBS in a statement that the company was “extremely pleased” with the decision.

“From the outset, we’ve never supported online copyright infringement but we couldn’t sit by and have our customers bullied by way of speculative invoicing,” he said.

“Today’s decision is a major blow to the speculative invoicing model and sets a precedent that future preliminary discovery applications will not follow this path.

“We believe the issue of copyright infringement is best addressed by studios making their content available in a more affordable and timely manner.”