"Illegal downloading more like tresspass than theft"


Well-Known Member
Jun 11, 2010
South Australia
While I'm sure nobody on these forums is a dirty pirate this is quite an important decision, and not just for people in Australia, with the way international precedents are commonly used in rulings related to the internet. (As a side note, the media's use of 'landmark' for every High Court case is a bit tired, isn't it?).

I'm too lazy to really explain, so here are a few excerpts from the article (

Australian-based readers can see the full article here: http://www.abc.net.a...n-theft/3963688):

In a landmark ruling on Friday, the High Court refused to punish Australian internet provider iiNet for illegal downloads made by its customers.
An alliance of international film and television companies spent millions in legal fees arguing the Perth-based company authorised copyright infringement.

It was the first time the film industry had taken an internet service provider (ISP) all the way to the top of the legal system, and the alliance lost their case.

In February last year the Federal Court also ruled that iiNet was not liable for its users' copyright infringements.

Professor Stuart Green from Rutgers University Law School in the US says young people in particular do not see illegal downloads as being wrong in the same way as stealing physical items.
"For many years the music and movie industries and congress, parliament and prosecutors have really tried to get the general public to think about this as a problem of theft," he said.

"Yet most people really do distinguish between taking tangible property and taking intangible property.


He says illegal downloading is more similar to the crime of trespass than it is to theft.

"If someone trespasses on your property it means that they've come uninvited but they haven't deprived you of use. They haven't deprived you of the basic possession of the property.

The alliance - the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) - has reacted to the court's decision with dismay, saying billions of dollars in revenue were at stake.
Some say the industry's next step could be to sue individual internet users, but Neil Gane from AFACT says there are currently no plans to sue individual Australians.

"As regards to future litigation plans... currently we have no plans to sue end users in Australia." [said an AFACT spokesperson]


Well-Known Member
Aug 28, 2010
Half way up the stair
Here's to decisions to allow Piracy everyday and a return to global cooling*.

I welcome this 'landmark' decision, despite being not too much of a dirty sea-faring pirate.

This Australian lecture by Mark Pesce (fish/sea related, or just possibly Joe Pesci related (cough **its close enough**cough ) at the 'Australian Film Television and Radio School' highlights the point, that perhaps he alone is ahead of his industries time and now, its well wasted money!

'Piracy is Good'


I would agree entirely with Prof Stuart Greens opinion "If someone trespasses on your property it means that they've come uninvited but they haven't deprived you of use. They haven't deprived you of the basic possession of the property."

Which to my defensibly, arguably, sick mind, means they haven't breached the Common Law principles of Damage to, or Loss of Property that would be correctly termed Harm to and Theft of, any given persons property.

Therefore the Judges ruling is to my mind correct and the Industries line of attack was all wrong.

I am glad it will be considered landmark and referable case law from now on, as customers of ISP's who engage in copyright infingement via their time upon the internet, are not engaging in Theft or Piracy that they should be held accountable for by those parties who feel they have been deprived of a loss of revenue.


In fact they have probably helped generate more revenue for the given products, in the long run, by the spreading of the good word of mouth, that the product is worth having in the first place and thereby creating customer loyalty in future products, in themselves aswell. Which the lecture above argues and proves very well.

As Piracy is good.


The customers of the ISP have of course committed a crime.

One for which the Industries could have attacked successfully instead (except they wouldn't have been the direct beneficiaries, so didn't see the point beyond the fear in other potential pirate downloaders they can create), which is why I suggested they were barking up the wrong tree from the outset.

I wasn't arguing the pirate customers were free of guilt and we should all get everything for free therefore.....although that's a different argument for when we've abolished usury (based on distorted viewpoints of life), rather than piracy, which could save us all.


I haven't covered which crime exactly was committed against who for good reason, as if they haven't thought of it yet, then all's well that ends well.

Which is ending very well indeed, it would seem, *given the recent cold spell and foul weather (in my regions arrogance of everywhere). Clearly a sign (of more Pirates) that this is beyond 'Land'mark and is infact, a fully filling prophecy completing decision of The Great Lords bountiful desires for us all, in these clearing away end times, of the Great Pastas beginning and eventually ending noodle. That which correctly spiced, makes for the food of the god in life.



Still Fresh
Sep 7, 2010


Advanced Member
Oct 18, 2008
Before any of us had a computer, much less one capable of sucking music and video out of the ether, those of us who craved more music than the one or two 7 inch singles we could afford monthly, if that, sat with our fingers poised over the record button on the music center or radio cassette every weekend as Radio stations gave us the opportunity to copy as much music as we could eat. "Home taping is killing music!" they claimed, while also clamouring to get as much of their wares played on those same airwaves.

Now with cable/satellite service we get a box capable of, intended for, the purpose of recording whatever we please from TV - which poses some interesting questions such as is it ok to download a movie, or can any crime even be said to have been committed, if a channel I have is, has, or is going to show it and I could record it anyway?