Singapore Anime Distributor Denied Third Court Order
posted on by Mikhail Koulikov
Singapore's Subordinate Court has ruled against anime licensor Odex in its attempt to order the internet service provider Pacific Internet (PacNet) to release the names of up to 1,000 users that Odex says illegally downloaded anime. District Judge Ernest Lau based his decision on the fact that Odex was a sublicensee and did not hold either copyright or exclusive license to distribute all the anime series it claimed the users were downloading. In fact, according to Lau, the only anime for which Odex could show an exclusive license is Mobile Suit Gundam Seed.
Lau also said that the method by which Odex is said to have obtained the Internet Protocol (IP) addresses of allegedly illegal anime downloaders did not provide "an extremely strong prima facie case" for obtaining their identities. He ordered Odex to repay Singapore $7,000 (US$4,600) in court costs.
Odex recently secured court orders from two other judges that forced ISPs StarHub and SingNet to release names of hundreds of their subscribers. Odex then sent letters to some of the subscribers, requesting fines and threatening criminal prosecution if they refused. According to Lau's ruling, Singapore's Copyright Act gives an exclusive licensee the right to pursue civil action, but not criminal prosecution. StarHub is now considering lodging an appeal of the court order, but the deadline for taking a similar action for SingNet has passed. In turn, Odex plans to appeal the judge's decision, but will consult with the Japanese companies that hold the rights to its various series before doing so.