Dallas Buyers Club case “nothing new”, says lawyer

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Dallas Buyers Club lawyer discusses the impact of this week’s copyright crackdown.

Despite the headline-grabbing court ruling that Internet provider iiNet must reveal the personal details of illegal downloaders of the film, Marque Lawyers managing partner Michael Bradley  said there is nothing particularly surprising about the ruling.

“What’s unusual about this case is just the scale,” said the Dallas Buyers Club lawyer.  “The ability of someone that has a legal claim that is unable to identify their defendant to get that identifying information from a third party, that’s quite common place.  What’s different about this context is that we’re talking about a massive scale of infringement, not just with this movie but more broadly. Whereas until now, people have been infringing copyright on movies have been able to do so with impunity, that is probably about to change.”

While copyright holders seeking to get in touch with people who are impinging upon copyright is nothing new, Bradley said the interesting thing about this case was iiNet’s privacy defence. “To some extent it’s been framed as a battle between the right to privacy and the rights of copyright owners to protect their property. I think that’s a bit misplaced,” he said.  “It’s hardly unusual for someone whose legal rights are being infringed to have the entitlement identify who’s doing it when they are unable to do so directly so that they can pursue their rights.”

Bradley predicted that coming to identify the infringers will have a more significant impact upon IP law than the current court process.

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