The battle between the Seven Network and iiNet over pirated movies and TV shows will take place in February.
Seven and seven major movie studios (Roadshow, Universal, Paramount, Disney, Fox, Warner Bros. and Columbia) are suing iiNet for failing to stop its users downloading pirated content. They are seeking unspecified damages.
Justice Dennis Cowdroy set a deadline of February 5, though iiNet lawyers immediately complained it wasn't long enough for them to prepare its case.
And they probably have the right to be concerned. The case is set to be a landmark one for the future of the Internet.
Seven and the movie studios argue that iiNet had a responsibility to stop customers they had identified as illegal downloaders, while iiNet insisted it did its duty by passing on customer details to the police and letting them deal with it.
I can't see what iiNet has done wrong here. This would be akin to suing Holden because it allowed you to drive 40Km/h over the speed limit and lose your licence. It supplied the car; you drive it; the police enforce the law. It sounds pretty simple to me.
iiNet identified the customers that it suspected may be downloading illegal content, passed their details onto the police and let them deal with the matter. It isn't a law enforcement agency; it's simply an ISP that provides an Internet connection. It is not iiNet's job to be the content police.
I shudder to think what it will mean for the Internet in Australia if the film industry and Seven actually win this case.