Major Hollywood movie studios lose Australian piracy suit

Australia’s top court rules that an Internet service provider wasn’t responsible for illegal customer downloads

Maybe if they’re outraged enough, they can make a movie about it. Thirty-four American and Australian companies, including Paramount Pictures, Viacom Inc., Village Roadshow Ltd. and Walt Disney Co., lost a piracy lawsuit in Australia last week when the nation’s top court ruled that a local Internet service provider (ISP) iiNet Ltd. wasn’t responsible for customers illegally downloading films.

The appellants, which either own or exclusively license the copyright in thousands of commercially released films and television programs, were upset that the ISP’s customers had been able to use file sharing service BitTorrent Inc.’s software to illegally download their copyrighted content, and were appealing earlier court decisions justifying iiNet. The appellants were seeking damages that could have included royalties on the downloaded content.

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