The Federal Court has ordered a group of internet service providers, including iiNet, to pay 75 per cent of the legal costs relating to the Dallas Buyers Club copyright case.
The case, known as iiDallas, is between several ISPs and the owners of the Oscar award-winning movie Dallas Buyers Club.
In early April, the Federal Court ordered the internet providers hand over the personal details of customers who allegedly downloaded the film.
The ISPs that opposed the discovery order, iiNet, Internode, Adam Internet, Dodo, Wideband and Amnet Broadband, were ordered to hand over the personal details of 4,726 customers.
Despite previously ordering Dallas Buyers Club to pay the court costs, the Federal Court on Wednesday agreed that iiNet should shoulder some of the associated costs.
“In this case, I think that the ISPs are on the adversarial side of the line,” Justice Nye Perram ruled.
“As I recorded ‘the ISPs have put nearly everything in issue’. Consequently, the case extended over three days. In principle, therefore, I accept, contrary to my initial disposition, that the applicants should have their costs.
It is a reversal by the Federal Court, which originally ordered Dallas Buyers Club to pay the ISPs’ costs.
Letters to be approved before customer details provided
The court also found that the letter, which is to be sent to the customers, should be presented to the court for approval by the ISP respondents by May 13.
The Federal Court wanted to insert itself into the process to stop a practice known as “speculative invoicing”.
The practice has previously happened overseas, where alleged copyright infringers receive legal demands for large amount of money to settle, or a threat that they will face court.
Justice Perram ruled that only when he is happy with the contents of the letter, should subscriber information be handed over.
“The appropriate course is for Dallas Buyers Club to formulate a draft letter for the court’s consideration,” he wrote.
“When the letter is in a form which is satisfactory I will then require the ISPs to give the account holder information sought to Dallas Buyers Club, on its undertaking to send a letter only in that form.”