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iiNet returns to court to fight calls for customer information

It might not be "World War III", but iiNet is preparing for a big battle with the rights holders behind Dallas Buyers Club, resisting calls to hand over customer information and calling for more details on the "Maverick" system used to obtain IP addresses of alleged pirates.

Focus Features

iiNet and the rights holders behind Dallas Buyers Club will continue their battle over disclosure of customer details into next year, with a full hearing between the two parties set down for February 5, 2015.

The service provider is opposing the application of Dallas Buyers Club LLC, the owner of the rights to the film of the same name, to access the personal information of customers suspected of pirating the film.

A short directions hearing was held in Sydney today, with iiNet contesting the demands of Dallas Buyers Club LLC and calling for more time to examine the particulars of the case.

The barrister representing iiNet, Richard Lancaster SC (the same barrister who represented the ISP during its piracy stoush with Roadshow Films in 2012) said that while his client was not treating the case as "World War III", iiNet did need more information on how its customers' IP addresses were procured.

According to Lancaster, iiNet was originally "not familiar with [the] Maverick system" used by Dallas Buyers Club LLC to obtain infringing IP addresses, and despite now being furnished with details, needed more time to examine the technical particulars.

The so-called 'Maverick' system is understood to refer to Maverickeye -- a German company that bills itself as a detector of copyright infringers and "online criminal acts".

According to its website, "Maverickeye UG makes it possible to detect as well as retrace copyright infringements. With highly sophisticated software technology, Maverickeye UG can provide technical evidence to illegal acts on the internet."

Counsel representing Dallas Buyers Club argued that the company had allowed "considerable time" for iiNet to familiarise itself with the particulars of its IP discovery methods, having presented the information "some months ago" and asking for consent to what was sought in light of the ISP's "previous position in the Roadshow case".

iiNet is also contesting that there has been "no sense of urgency" on the part of Dallas Buyers Club to pursue pirates infringing the copyright of its film, with Richard Lancaster SC saying his client "first started receiving letters from Dallas Buyers Club in May 2013" and these requests for customer information "started up again towards the middle of this year".

In his description of the case, Justice Perram said iiNet was cast with a forensic burden to say "there's nothing to see here".

The parties are set to appear for further short directions hearings in Sydney on November 17 and another in December, with the full hearing set to commence on February 5 next year.