McIntosh fines net cafe $82k for piracy

Police seize servers after AFACT tip-off

A Sydney Internet cafe has had its computers and severs seized by the Australian Federal Police and has plead guilty to 40 counts of copyright infringement following legal action by America's top media outlets.

Interville Technology was fined $82,000 plus court costs after allowing users to download copyright-protected movies and music as part of its Internet usage.

The company was charged with 40 counts of copyright infringement which included streaming movies and selling 60Gb harddrives loaded with pirate media.

The raid followed an investigation by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) and Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) which represents media publishers including Fox Studios, Disney and Time Warner.

Police seized 60 computer terminals and three servers containing 8Tb of data including "hundred of thousands" of copyright movies, music and television shows.

AFACT director of operations Neil Gane said in a written statement the penalty was appropriate for the copyright infringement.

“It is satisfying to see sentences handed down which properly reflect the damage operations like this do to rights owners and the 50,000 Australians working in the film and TV industries," Gane said.

The sentences will send a clear message to all Internet cafe owners engaged in commercial scale copyright infringement – you will be caught and you risk severe penalties.”

MPI general manager Sabiene Heindl said it was the first time an Internet cafe had been charged with copyright infringement in Australia.

American Gangster, National Treasure Book of Secrets, 50 Cent, Alicia Keys and Justin Timberlake were among the stolen movie and music titles.

Magistrate McIntosh handed down the fine.

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Darren Pauli

Computerworld
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