Courtesy of Wikileaks, the full extent of US manipulation has been revealed for the landmark Australian AFACT vs iiNet ISP copyright trials, which heralded a rare victory for ISPs in the matter of copyright enforcement.
Federal Court Justice Dennis Cowdroy dismissed AFACT's lawsuit in February 2010 on the grounds that the ISP was not responsible for the actions of its subscribers, and a full bench of the Federal Court rejected AFACT's appeal of the original decision in February of this year, although it did provide the copyright lobbying group a few small victories.
While it was common knowledge that the AFACT, while purporting to be an Australian copyright lobby, had strong links with is American cousin, the MPAA, leaked cables now show the full extent of the MPAA influence behind the scenes.
One leaked cable showed that the AFACT and the MPAA "worked hard to get Village Roadshow and the Seven Network to agree to be the public Australian faces on the case" to make it appear that this was in fact an Australian matter, but the US embassy cable made it clear that this was "an MPAA/American studios production", and that the MPAA's role in this lawsuit should be kept hidden.
And as for the target of the "production", Australia's third largest ISP iiNet, and why it was chosen instead of Australia's largest ISP, Telstra Bigpond, the cables reveal even more of the strategy behind the lawsuit. The cable identified Telstra as "a company with the financial resources and demonstrated willingness to fight hard and dirty, in court and out", and so was not an ideal target, preferring to go after iiNet, whose management was described as "unhelpful" when it came to copyright matters.
As for the future, the cable also indicates the AFACT/MPAA's next course of action. "AFACT will likely increase its lobbying of the Australian government for legislative changes," the cable said, and it also delivered an attack on the Australian government's building of a next generation fibre-to-the-premise based 'National Broadband Network', saying the 100Mbps speeds that will be available to 93% of all households in Australia will make piracy "literally multiply".