Graham Phillips and Brigid Dixon

Dallas Buyers Club case dismissed

Graham Phillips and Brigid Dixon

16 February 2016

Copyright

On 11 February 2016, the long running Dallas Buyers Club (DBC) preliminary discovery application, seeking disclosure from ISPs of customer details of accounts, was dismissed. For an overview of the case up until now see our posts on the April and August decisions.

Following the Court’s August judgment DBC made a new application seeking preliminary discovery of only 10% of the account holder details originally sought. DBC sought these details and the right to make demands for uploading and additional punitive damages (previously found to be impermissible demands by Justice Perram). In exchange for the smaller number of account holder details DBC also sought to lodge only $60,000 of the court ordered bank guarantee.

In a December judgment, Justice Perram rejected this second application and DBC’s attempts to revisit the impermissible demands. DBC were given until 11 February to either follow the orders of the Court’s August judgment, or, given the issues they had raised with the previous decisions, seek leave to appeal. Despite indications from DBC that they would seek leave to appeal, there were no further applications for preliminary discovery or leave to appeal. Given this, on 11 February the Court’s self-executing order was made and the proceedings have been dismissed in their entirety.

The interlocutory proceeding ran for a total of 16 months and resulted in 5 separate decisions by the Court. The case indicates a roadmap for future applications and also highlights the important balance required between copyright enforcement and pursuing claims and negotiating positions that have legal substance. The matter has been a warning for people who illegally download content as well as a lesson for content owners in avoiding overreach.