[LINK] US-style mass piracy lawsuits come to Australia?

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Sun Oct 2 10:27:51 AEDT 2011


> Thought AFACT was the only game in town when it came to enforcing copyright in Australia? Think again. Another front has opened up in content holders’ war on file sharing, with a new and separate firm named ‘Movie Rights Group’ proposing to engage in mass legal action against thousands of individual Australians who have allegedly pirated content in the past 12 months.
> The company’s existence first came to light today as a result of a blog post published this week by John Linton, the chief executive of national broadband provider Exetel. Linton noted that US film distributor Lightning Entertainment had contacted his company with a list of 150 IP addresses, seeking the details of the equivalent 150 Exetel customers who had allegedly downloaded the film ‘Kill the Irishman’, which was released this year. Exetel’s 150 were just a fraction of the 9,000-odd Australians which the company claimed had pirated Kill the Irishman, and whom it is pursuing.
> Following Linton’s post, Delimiter has confirmed that Lightning is being represented in Australia on the matter by a new company called ‘Movie Rights Group’. It is unclear who precisely is behind the company, but it was registered as a Queensland-headquartered private company in November 2010, with its only known executive so far being its vice president of sales and marketing Gordon Walker.


> The wider problem
> A widely held view in Australia is that the poor availability of legal online content locally – compared with countries such as the US – and the delay it takes for the latest television shows and movies to arrive in Australia is a major contributing factor to the nation’s high degrees of online piracy. The Federal Government seeking to arbitrate an agreement between the content and ISP industries over the matter.
> Walker said he wasn’t sure whether Kill the Irishman was available through legal online channels in Australia such as Telstra’s T-Box platform, although he noted you could have seen the film in cinemas, and it was available for rent or purchase on DVD. However, the executive defended Movie Rights Group’s approach by stating that the issue of online copyright infringement was one which hadn’t been dealt with well globally by governments.


> And just who is Movie Rights Group? Walker wouldn’t say who was behind the company, but he did note everyone involved was Australian, although it also had operations and legal representation in the US and Europe. The parties behind the group had been in the Internet business for about 16 years, he said, in areas such as hosting and affiliate marketing programs. The copyright infringement program was “a new direction” for those parties, Walker said.

Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
T: +61 2 61402408  M: +61 404072753
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