Australia - Dallas Buyers Club - reprieve for downloaders In this next instalment of Dallas Buyers Club LLC's (DBC) quest to obtain the contact details of alleged copyright infringers, the Federal Court of Australia demonstrated its commitment to prevent "speculative invoicing" from occurring in Australia, highlighting in the process that even where an applicant is successful in obtaining preliminary discovery in copyright litigation, this does not guarantee immediate access to the discovered information. On 14 August 2015 the Federal Court dismissed an application by DBC to lift the stay of the order made (on 6 May 2015) to disclose account holder details. Justice Perram's judgment focused on the content of the correspondence that DBC proposed to send to the owners of the 4,726 identified IP addresses associated with alleged illegal downloads of the DBC movie. A written submission was prepared by DBC setting out its demands, and whilst the actual figures cannot be disclosed for confidentiality reasons, his Honour set out four 'heads' of claim in the judgment: (a) claim for the cost of the actual purchase of a copy of the film;(b) claim in relation to the general uploading activities of infringers on BitTorrent; (c) claim for additional damages under section 115(4); and (d) claim for damages arising from the proceedings. At common law, damages will be generally calculated so as to put the plaintiff in the same position it would have been in had the infringement not occurred. Applying this principle, Justice Perram found that damages were permissible in respect of claims (a) and (d). However, in respect of claim (b), his Honour flatly rejected DBC's argument that it would have been entitled to a 'distribution licence fee' for BitTorrent uploads, as the prospect of a BitTorrent user seeking such a licence was "so surreal as not to be taken seriously". The Court also dismissed claim (c) on the basis that the Court could not assess damages in relation to the DBC film by reference to how many copies of other films each infringer downloaded using BitTorrent. Justice Perram ultimately advised the parties that he would lift the stay if the Court received a written undertaking from DBC that it would use the discovered information (i.e. account holder details) to make permissible claims, being claims (a) and (d) above. As DBC has no presence in Australia, the Court required a bond of AUD $600,000 to ensure DBC's compliance with this undertaking. From a procedural point of view, his Honour was critical of DBC's failure to put on evidence of the true nature of its demands or claims at the application for preliminary discovery, and felt that two separate hearings should have been unnecessary for this type of matter. In light of this judgment, it is clear that even where an applicant is successful in obtaining preliminary discovery in copyright litigation, this does not guarantee immediate access to the discovered information. A copy of the judgment is available here. For more information, please contact Anne-Marie Allgrove, Toby Patten, Jarrod BaylissMcCulloch or Grace Loukides.