ISPs in sights of pirate hunters

Owners of music and other copyrighted material are set to attempt legal action against internet service providers in Australia — and probably shortly in New Zealand — over their customers’ file-trading activities.

Music industry bodies have launched actions against individuals including students at several major Australian universities, says Auckland forensic IT specialist John Thackray.

“They have gone to ISPs and told them ‘this is the volume of [copyrighted] stuff going through your machines’, and the response tends to be ‘yes, we know about that [site] and we know a lot of our users download there’.”

This, says Thackray, lays the ISP open to a charge of profiting from illegal activity — especially when users exceed their data caps through energetic file-trading, directly making the ISP more money than in a normal month. An action has already begun against an ISP in Perth and “it wouldn’t surprise me if it happens in New Zealand”.

He says he has been working in Australia as virtually a full-time job in recent months, assisting investigation of copyright infringement in general, involving any exchange of files.

In a couple of cases this has gone beyond swapping of copyright material and involved activities related to identity theft, such as the counterfeiting of driving licences, Thackray says. He adds there is concern over both the older peer-to-peer trading environments such as Morpheus and Kazaa and the newer “direct-connect hubs” such as, which enable local traders to deal with one another without incurring the costs associated with major traffic over an international internet connection.

Auckland ISP Orcon hosts, “but we’re not affiliated”, says Orcon managing director Seeby Woodhouse.

Told of the possibility of legal action against ISPs for profiting from illegal activity, he says, “I guess that brings into play some interesting issues. I don’t think [such an accusation] is necessarily reasonable, but this is a question that is slowly being worked out.”

The Perth ISP action is imminent, Thackray said last week.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Bell

IDG New Zealand
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >




Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?