Australian copyright law has recently demonstrated that rightholders are able to crack down on individual instances of copyright infringement.
This directly affects individual Australians and is not something that should be ignored. Xavier O’Halloran of the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) stated that:
“We’d strongly recommend users [who get letters] seek independent legal advice right away, because the way these letters have been structured is they tend to use bullying tactics and make claims for amounts of money that are way beyond what any court would consider reasonable in Australia.”
Irish Bentley Lawyers are able to provide this advice and assist in resolving the matter.
So what has actually happened?
There are essentially two recent cases that have been decided in relation to copyright infringement. Firstly, in 2014, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia found that using (copyright protected) photographs found on the internet is not acceptable. In this case the court was willing to award damages against individuals for the unlicensed use of photographs on the defendant’s website. Importantly, this decision found that it is irrelevant whether the person is aware of the copyright. In fact, the finding was essentially that the reckless nature of not checking whether an image is copyright protected or attempting to acquire a license for the images was reason for the court to award additional damages. In this case, the travel agent using the unlicensed images was ordered to pay $24,663.14 in damages (inc. interest).
More recently, the courts have also determined that movie and TV show (unlawful) downloaders are liable to pay up. Although this case provided a requirement for the Dallas Buyers Club rightholders “to submit to this Court for its approval a draft of the letter they propose to write to account holders” and required privacy safeguards in sending out said letters, it has essentially held that these letters are an acceptable practice for rightholders.
Within 24 hours of this decision being passed proposed the Copyright Notice Scheme Code 2015 was passed to the Australian Communications and Media Authority for approval. This Code sets out a graduated (3-strike) response to copyright infringement which ultimately may result in personal information being provided to rightholders so that they can send the similar letters to the Dallas Buyers Club rightholders.
Nonetheless, this has not stopped many Australian’s, with the extremely high number of Australians downloading leaked episodes of Season 5 of ‘Game of Thrones’.
Irish Bentley Lawyers have a significant level of experience in intellectual property law. We have been involved in a number of trade marks and copyright disputes. We prefer to provide most of our services on a fixed price basis (rather than a time basis) where possible.
Please note that the above does not constitute legal advice and Irish Bentley Lawyers make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy of any of the information contained herein. If you have a copyright issue, then please do not hesitate to contact the team at Irish Bentley Lawyers – there is no substitute for proper legal advice based on your individual and unique circumstances.