Hollywood film studios today received a major blow in their fight against internet piracy when they lost a copyright case in Australia against Australian internet provider, iiNet, for allowing its customers to "illegally" download movies.
The Australian Federal Court in Sydney has ruled that iiNet could not be held responsible for unauthorised downloads of movies using its service.
The copyright case was filed jointly by a group of Hollywood studio majors, including Village Roadshow, Universal Pictures, Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox and Disney.
Hollywood studios argued that the Perth-based iiNet network, Australia's third-largest ISP, had allowed "illegal" downloads of nearly 90 films and TV serials, including `Batman Begins', `Transformers' and `Heroes', since June 2008.
The Hollywood group said that iiNet not only failed to take steps to stop illegal file-sharing by customers, but also breached copyright by providing data through its system.
"While I find that iiNet had knowledge of infringements occurring, and did not act to stop them, such findings do not necessitate a finding of authorisation," federal judge Dennis Cowdroy said in his judgment.