The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) has given some of the largest Internet providers until Wednesday July 13 to respond to an invitation to re-enter negotiations on piracy or face unspecified action.
AFACT Executive Director Neil Gane is understood to have written to a number of ISPs, including Exetel. Gane’s letter refers to the Federal Appeal Court’s February ruling on AFACT’s bid to make ISPs liable for copyright infringement by their customers.
Exetel has been given seven days to indicate whether it will “attend a meeting with AFACT” to discuss a system of graduated responses to online piracy. If AFACT does not hear back within that time, it will proceed accordingly, according to Gane. Exetel CEO John Linton said it was impossible to read the letter “as anything other than a threat”.
An AFACT spokeswoman confirmed it had sent letters to ISPs inviting them to join negotiations but declined to detail which had been targeted. “This is simply an invitation to ISPs to engage with us to fulfil their obligations,” she said.
February’s ruling set out procedures that ISP iiNet could follow before disconnecting its customers for online copyright infringement. iiNet “should inform its customer of the particulars of the allegations of primary infringement involving the use of that customers iiNet account”, said Justice Emmett’s ruling. In addition, iiNet should “warn the customer that if no satisfactory response is received within a reasonable time, perhaps seven days, the iiNet service will be suspended until such time as a reasonable response is received”.
ISPS iiNet, Telstra and Optus have so far refused to pass on AFACT infringement notices, leading AFACT to argue that iiNet authorised customers to infringe copyright.