ISPs not to blame for illegal file sharing

An Australian judge has ruled that internet service providers cannot be held responsible for the illegal file sharing activities of its subscribers in what could be seen as a landmark case internationally.

An AP report on Yahoo News says that a group of 34 Aussie movie company subsidiaries has failed to prove that the country's third largest ISP iiNet had breached copyright by failing to stop subscribers from illegally sharing movie files.

Justice Dennis Cowdray said that, while the ISP was aware that illegal file sharing took place, failing to stop the dodgy downloads was not tantamount to authorising breaches of copyright.

The judge said that ISPs did not have the power to stop illegal downloads and, as such, should not be held responsible for them.

The case for ISP culpability in copyright cases has been likened to a council being held responsible for building a road, and then being held liable for any illegal activity which takes place on it.

The ruling is expected to have far reaching implications for similar international cases, as it is the first ruling of its kind.

The movie companies involved are less than happy with the ruling and are considering an appeal.