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Wednesday, 04 November 2009 11:48

iiNet not enforcing own user agreement: AFACT

The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) has accused iiNet of not abiding by its own contractual agreements with users by failing to disconnect accused copyright infringers who allegedly violate the terms and conditions of their contracts.

iiNet has publicly demonstrated a stance of condemning copyright infringement by forbidding it in its User Agreement and Terms and Conditions with iiNet subscribers. However, the ISP maintains that it cannot legally disconnect users alleged to have infringed copyright without a court order or via legislation or industry codes that are yet to be created.

The debate ultimately comes down to various interpretations of the Telecommunications Act by both AFACT and iiNet.

AFACT believes that iiNet has subscriber consent to disclose customer details due to its User Agreements, though iiNet's interpretation of the Act states otherwise.

AFACT has proposed an amendment to the iiNet User Agreement that would allow, in the eyes of iiNet, for customer consent in providing customer details in the case of copyright infringement, alleging that the contract was "limited" in its current form to iiNet.

Regardless of its user agreement, iiNet maintains that it still requires legitimate proof as accepted by courts to process any accusation of copyright infringement.

However, AFACT barrister Tony Bannon questioned the credibility of iiNet's dedication to preventing copyright infringement.

"If you truly believed that there was a 'deficiency' [later withdrawn and replaced with 'limitation'] in the contract and were concerned about user copyright infringement ... you would amend the contract," alleged Bannon.

iiNet CEO Michael Malone, however, reiterated iiNet's position, stating that the ISP would still require a third party review of AFACT allegations of copyright infringement alongside court orders or legislation requiring their action against customers.

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