The legal letter to be sent to torrenters suspected of pirating "Dallas Buyers Club" will be drafted within a week under orders handed down in the Federal Court today.
The letter forms part of the 'preliminary discovery' process that will allow the rights holders to identify those suspected of pirating the film before suing those individuals for copyright infringement.
In handing down a judgement in the, Justice Nye Perram ordered Dallas Buyers Club to provide the final substance of any copyright infringement letter to the court by May 13. Both sides will then meet in court on May 21 to discuss the "form of any letter" sent to account holders before setting a date for preliminary discovery to begin.
Justice Perram also ordered that the ISPs involved pay 75 percent of Dallas Buyers Club's legal costs, including the cost of flying out its expert witness, Daniel Macek of MaverickEye, from Germany. Mr Macek provided testimony to vouch for, but Justice Perram ultimately ruled that his cross-examination "served little purpose" and subsequently called on the ISPs to foot the bill for his travel.
However, the Judge has allowed the ISPs to apply for security on the costs involved with the preliminary discovery process.
What happens next?
The court has ordered iiNet, as well as a number of smaller ISPs involved in the case, to provide Dallas Buyers Club with a "verified list" of the 4,726 IP addresses earmarked by the rights holders' technical experts for copyright infringement. Alongside this, the ISPs will provide the "name and residential address of the account holder associated with that IP address" at the particular time that the IP address was detected downloading the film (or part thereof).
According to Justice Perram's judgement, Dallas Buyers Club is then permitted to use this information for "the recovery of compensation for infringement," including "suing end-users for infringement of copyright in the Film; and negotiating with end-users regarding their liability for such infringement".
In an earlier hearing in the case, lawyers for Dallas Buyers Club indicated they would-- the date of today's hearing. However, this date will now be set by Justice Perram following the hearing on May 21.
When it comes to what the rights holders will do in contacting individual pirates, Dallas Buyers Club is yet to show its hand. iiNet previously asserted its right to view any communication with its customers before it is sent, while Dallas Buyers Club insisted any such letter only needed to be reviewed by the judge.
Today, Justice Perram maintained, "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."
However, he also raised concerns about his "ability to secure obedience" on that front, considering Dallas Buyers Club LLC is based overseas, and ultimately called for further evidence on this issue.
While Justice Perram said it was "premature" to comment on the content of the letter, he noted that a number of factors were at play including "the range of sophistication" of potential recipients. He remarked that "it should not be assumed that every recipient has engaged in infringement" but also noted that "it would be to engage in fantasy to think that some of them have not".