Wikileaks cables reveal American involvement in iiNet trial

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Image: Tobias Vemmenby/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Wikileaks has recently published more cables from the US embassy in Canberra. One such cable has revealed that there could have been American involvement in the trial against ISP iiNet and AFACT over copyright infringement.

The cable was created by the then-ambassador for the United States Robert McCallum and was published on November 30, 2008.

The cable, as seen by techgeek.com.au, says that the United States’ Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) was the driving force behind AFACT’s case and that the participation of Village Roadshow and the Seven Network, two Australian companies, were just to make sure it wasn’t just “Hollywood ‘bullying some poor little Australian ISP.'”

The cable also reveals the reluctance to go for BigPond/Telstra, as they wish to not to “begin by tangling with Telstra… a company with the financial resources and demonstrated willingness to fight hard and dirty, in court and out.”

The source also claims that their case was “very strong” and delivered iiNet every week for five weeks a “‘telephone-directory’-sized list of violations complete with a DVD with ‘gigabytes’ of data on infringers using iiNet’s network… [and] iiNet did nothing against any of its users.” Also revealed was that the Communications Minister Senator Stephen Conroy was consulted about the case, but he appeared to have “other priorities” such as the NBN.

However, despite its claims that it was strong, the court has ruled against AFACT twice.

Delimiter’s Renai Le May has written a full analysis on the revelations of the cable in terms of the lawsuit:

I would bet that the publication of this cable will not aid the case of AFACT and the MPAA in wooing that public opinion. As the cable notes, one of the underlying issues beneath copyright infringement in Australia remains the reluctance by some parties to release their content locally at the same time as the US. I suspect that if that issue was resolved, and online distribution centres such as Hulu extended to Australia, much of the online copyright infringement problem would disappear.

The timing of the cable’s release appears to be coincidental, as AFACT are again looking to appeal the decision and could even go all the way to the High Court. Most likely, this will not affect the court’s decision. The public’s opinion, however, is a whole different mindset.

Editor’s Note: we will not publish the link in this article due to the sensitive nature of the very issue, and will delete ANY attempts of people trying to publish the link. It is already on the web, use Google.

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