Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Odex: The Appeal.

I never figured I'd post an Odex entry again after all this while. After all, the hoo-hah has largely died down ever since Odex, sensibly, took into consideration the fallacies in its actions and offered an olive branch to illegal anime downloaders.

Todayonline's article on the case.

Yesterday's verbal decision by Justice Woo Bih Li in the High Court finally clarified some of the issues which had been raised by the earlier Singnet and Starhub decisions. Odex lost the pacnet appeal and was not entitled to obtain the identities of the the alleged downloaders from the ISPs for the simple reason that the Copyright Act only empowers the owner or exclusive licensee of the infringed work to take action for copyright infringement.

As Odex was neither the owner nor exclusive licensee of the illegally downloaded anime, it did not possess the requisite locus standi (legal interest) to commence the action for copyright infringement and compel the ISPs to release the identities of subscribers who were allegedly illegally downloading anime.

Like Jonathan Kok, an Intellectual Property lawyer at Harry Elias Partnership, commented, while the ruling did clarify that the right to take action for copyright infringement did not extend to non-exclusive licensees like Odex and that the Japanese companies as the copyright owners had to take direct action themselves; that does not change the fact that downloading copyrighted materials illegally amounts to copyright infringement which remains an actionable wrong.

Indeed, Justice Woo held that the six Japanese animation companies as the copyright owners are entitled to obtain the identities of the 500 or so Pacnet subscribers from Pacnet at the cost of $13.50 per IP address. Odex, meanwhile was ordered to pay Pacnet costs of $20,000. So what does this mean?

Other than confirmation and perhaps the sense of justification amongst netizens, anime and non-anime fans alike that Odex never had the authority to compel ISPs to release the identities of alleged downloaders and arbitrarily send out the letters of demand, nothing else has changed. The crux of the matter remains the same: downloading anime illegally (ie: without the copyright owners' consent) is wrong and the copyright owner or his exclusive licensee is perfectly entitled to commence an action against the infringing parties in order to protect his copyright.

And I think after all this while and all the publicity this Odex affair has received, if you're still bit torrenting or downloading anime and get caught, you ought to be shot. Because really, you have no one to blame but yourself.

3 comments:

virtual1979 said...

Just wanna say thanks for updating the community on the latest turn of events on the Odex saga. I have friends in Singapore who complained about it, and I feel compelled to just download anime here, copy them into CDs and shipping 'em to my friends under the guise of sending, er, chinese new year gifts, foodstuff, personal stuff, whatever >_<

Nobody cracks down on bt here.. the only thing that us Malaysians have to contend with are the sporadic download speeds, and the occasional "We're gonna restrict access to certain slanderous websites" threats which never materialize anyway... XD

cheers from malaysia

Aelgtoer said...

Ha ha well just make sure you don't get caught at customs or something. ^^

Yep some of my friends always complain about the erratic internet connection, is it that bad even in the cities?

virtual1979 said...

Meh.. I've been sending yaoi & anime cds over since the 1990s, and I'm crossing my fingers that the customs continue to ignore innocent-looking boxes from Malaysia XD

Yes, it can be quite bad, especially when it rains, when old copper wires start to age, or some other "inexcusable" reasons. But who are we to complain, since our gateway to the www is monopolized by a GLC. I suppose between censorship/limited access vs. bad connection, one's gotta choose the lesser of two evils :-S

cheers from malaysia