Dallas Buyers Club drops Australian piracy fight
February 11, 2016
By Colin Mann
In a seeming victory for Australian online content pirates, the Hollywood studio behind the film Dallas Buyers Club has dropped its attempts to demand reimbursement from alleged copyright infringers.
Dallas Buyers Club LLC had until midday February 11th to lodge a second appeal against an August Federal Court decision which effectively prevented it from engaging in so-called ‘speculative invoicing’ in Australia. Solicitors for the studio confirmed to Fairfax Media the studio had not appealed the decision by the deadline.
Michael Bradley of Marque Lawyers said while his client was disappointed by the final outcome of the case, it was not the end of the war against piracy in Australia. “The problem isn’t going away; Australia is still one of the most prominent jurisdictions for infringement, and rights holders will continue to feel that they’re losing a lot of money, so I expect they’ll continue to look for ways of deterring that behaviour,” he added, suggesting that the scale of the infringement was so large the financial losses involved so big, he doubted it would be the end of the story.
Federal Court Justice Nye Perram granted Dallas Buyers Club access to the names and addresses of the alleged pirates in April 2015, but put a temporary stay on access until the studio could prove to the court it would not threaten and pursue individuals for excessive amounts of money.
He subsequently rejected several versions of the studio’s proposed correspondence with individuals before deciding in August to lift the stay but impose strict conditions on access. These included that the studio only seek damages from individuals for the cost of obtaining the film plus some out-of-pocket expenses, and that it forfeit an A$600,000 bond if the terms were breached. The restrictions effectively made any further action from the studio against individual pirates prohibitively expensive.
Dallas Buyers Club LLC appealed the decision in September 2015 and sought access to the contact details of only 472 alleged pirates with a vastly-reduced A$60,000 bond, plus the right to seek further compensation. Justice Perram rejected the request in December 2015, ordering the case to be thrown out on February 11th unless further action was taken.