AICO Settles 2 Australia Piracy Cases

Tod Hunter
EDGECLIFF, New South Wales — This week, Australia's Adult Industry Copyright Organization, representing adult film producers from several countries and Australian distributors, signed settlement agreements closing two long-running piracy cases.

"These substantial settlements conclude piracy cases that have been hard fought over the past two to three years," AICO Executive Officer Graeme Dunne said. "They vindicate AICO's anti-piracy activities and should serve as glaring examples of the ability and tenacity of AICO, its members, and its legal team to tackle adult DVD piracy head on."

The settlements involved cash payments of $402,250 from Prestige Club Australasia Pty. Ltd. and $482,700 from Venus Adult Shops Pty. Ltd. The directors of both companies also were required to make full admissions of their own personal liability — as opposed to the liability of their companies.

Both PCA and Venus had used the "illegality argument" as a defense to their copyright infringements. Sales of adult materials are illegal in Australia's states and only permitted in areas designated as "territories," although possession of adult materials is legal nationwide. The illegality argument had been tried in the Federal Magistrate’s Court of Australia and, on appeal, to the Full Bench of the Federal Court of Australia, and had been dismissed.

“Our legal advice was that this ‘illegality’ issue was by no means a defense to copyright infringement; a fact that had been borne out previously by the Courts," managing director Malcolm Day said.

The Courts also ordered that PCA and Venus be permanently enjoined from dealing in adult films from AICO member studios without authority or license. Both PCA and Venus are now in discussion with Calvista Australia Pty. Ltd., an AICO founding member, in order to start a lawful business relationship.

“Our objective is to level the playing field and ensure that adult stores, websites, catalogues and wholesalers do not continue to sell pirated films from AICO member studios," Day said.

AICO member studios involved in the legal actions were Vivid, Private, Digital Playground, Evil Empire, Titan Media, Wicked, American Hardcore, Red Light District, Zero Tolerance, Third Degree, Falcon, Mustang, Jocks, Digital Sin, New Sensations, Acid Rain and Colossal.

The Adult Industry Copyright Organization was established to reduce the level of piracy of adult films in Australia through education, promotion and enforcement.