The battle between online piracy and media companies rages on, as Australian ISPs are ordered to relinquish the names, email and residential address of people who have pirated the movie Dallas Buyers Club.
The company that owns the rights to Dallas Buyers Club used a program called ‘Maverick Monitor’ to trace the copy-righted material that was pirated via BitTorrent, and in this manner produced roughly 4,700 IP addresses and the ISPs linked to them. A statement from an Australian Federal court justice has ruled that the ISPs are to review their records and attempt to determine the account using that IP address at the time of the act of piracy.
Though this evidence seems fairly strong, it’s not without its criticism. As it were, when Maverick Monitor detects a user with an active torrent of Dallas Buyers Club, it downloads only enough of the film to register the users IP address. In this way, it cannot distinguish a person seeding the whole film from a leecher whose few shared kb of data have now become incriminating evidence. To this point, the Australian justice who pronounced the statement has said that:
I am comfortably satisfied that the downloading of a sliver of the film from a single IP address provides strong circumstantial evidence that the end-user was infringing the copyright in the film. It certainly provides enough evidence on a preliminary discovery application.
This story will likely have many more months of legal trials before it reaches any kind of conclusion, and it has yet to be determined to what extent the copyright holder will see victory. But if nothing else this case and similar cases around the world are certainly breaking new ground. In Singapore, customers of ISPs have been given the bad news that privacy laws will not protect their identities in this case, which is happening simultaneously in that country.