The Australian High Court has granted special leave to Roadshow Films and other members of the Australian Federation against Copyright Theft (AFACT) to appeal the decision of the Full Federal Court handed down in February this year, in the long-running copyright dispute with Australian internet service provider iiNet.
In February 2011 the Full Federal Court held, by a 2-1 majority, that iiNet had not authorised its users to engage in copyright infringement by downloading and distributing pirated films. AFACT had argued that iiNet's failure to act on AFACT's take-down notices by suspending or terminating the infringing users' accounts, constituted authorisation of copyright infringement. While the members of the Full Federal Court were critical of iiNet's conduct, the majority held that iiNet had not been in possession of sufficient information such that it was required to act on the take-down notices.
On 12 August 2011, Chief Justice French and Justice Crennan of the Australian High Court granted special leave to AFACT to appeal the Full Federal Court's decision. The appeal is expected to be heard later this year. The appeal will be the first case since 1975 in which the High Court has examined the issue of authorisation of copyright infringement. The ongoing dispute between AFACT and iiNet has also garnered international attention as it is one of the first of its kind in the world to consider whether internet service providers should be liable for the infringing conduct of its customers.