Thursday, April 30, 2015

Copyright and the Dallas Buyers Club case

Have you ever illegally downloaded a movie or TV series via the internet? Are you a copyright pirate or just a thief? Will you ever be caught? Will the laws ever be enforced on you?

The library has more than a passing interest in Copyright and Intellectual Property laws and the regular library user will see Copyright warnings when they access readings.

A piece of news that came out in early April is that the makers of the movie The Dallas Buyers Club had a decision handed down in their favour. It was described as:
The case concerned an application for preliminary discovery by the owners of copyright in the 2012 film Dallas Buyers Club against six Australian internet service providers (ISPs). Preliminary discovery is a mechanism by which a prospective applicant can obtain an order from a court against another person that they assist the prospective applicant to ascertain the identity or description of a prospective respondent. In this case, Dallas Buyers Club LLC sought an order against six ISPs to provide the details of 4726 account holders of IP addresses they believe had infringed copyright in their film using BitTorrent.
What does this mean?

Well in the same article the Judge apparently will:
  • order the ISPs to divulge the names and physical addresses of the account holders of the 4726 IP addresses
  • impose upon the owners of Dallas Buyers Club that this information only be used for the purpose of recovering compensation for the infringements and no other purpose
If you are still unclear, in simple terms it means this:

If a maker of a movie wants to find you, they can force the Internet service provider to hand over the details of clients that they believe are illegally downloading their content. The maker can then sue you. 

For more details about the case, check out:  http://www.copyright.org.au/news-and-policy/details/id/2292/.

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