Yeah, I will get to my updates on the Ground To Zero project soon, but first some AWESOME breaking news:
iiNet won their court case against AFACT!!
If that statement alone has you fist-pumping the air right now, then carry on celebrating noble freedom fighter!
If you’re wondering why I’m so happy, let me explain. Way back in November 2008, Australian ISP iiNet was taken to court by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) for allegedly failing to pass on copyright infringement notifications to its customers. AFACT argued that by not enforcing their demands, iiNet was supposedly “authorising piracy” on their network.
Let me put it to you like this: if someone steals water from their neighbour’s garden hose, is the water company responsible because they provided the water? The correct answer of course is HELL NO! The water company is just a utility providing a service, they’re not responsible for how water is used. In the same way, ISPs are a utility for providing internet services, not for policing how it’s used. If AFACT had their way, ISPs would be forced to monitor all their customers’ usage. It’s illegal for the postal service to check our mail, so why should ISPs be allowed to snoop on our internet activity?
Despite logic being on our side, most of us didn’t expect iiNet to win this case. However, last Thursday Justice Dennis Cowdroy found that iiNet did not authorise the infringements and ruled in their favour. Cowdroy stated that “The mere provision of access to the internet is not an authorisation of infringement“. Despite what AFACT would have us believe, this does not mean pirates are “off the hook”. After the verdict was announced, iiNet CEO Michael Malone emphasised that they do not condone piracy, but insisted that litigation isn’t the right way to fight it. Rather, the best way to deal with the issue is to make the content available legally online in a way that’s mutually beneficial for the studios and the consumers. Couldn’t have said it better myself.
That’s nice, but why do I care?
You should care because this is a big win for our privacy as consumers. It means the big studios can’t bully ISPs into breaching the privacy of their customers. The pretence of fighting piracy doesn’t give them the right to spy on all of us, and fortunately the court saw it that way too.
Just when things were looking gloomy for Australians with the proposed internet censorship filter still undefeated, it’s nice to see some good news for once.