In the wake of the AFACT versus iiNet decision, and the pending Federal Court appeal, university CIOs are calling for more legal protection from potential cases of copyrighted content distribution on their networks.\nThe Council of Australian University Directors of Information Technology (CAUDIT) held a videoconference, hosted by AARNet, to discuss the implications for universities were the iiNet decision to be overturned next month.\nAbout 20 universities participated in the conference, with 16 high-definition screens linked across a 10Gbps link.\nThe conference chair, Internet Industry Association (IIA) chief executive Peter Coroneos, said universities don\u2019t have the same safeguards as ISPs and may be exposed if the decision were overturned.\n\u201cToday universities, content portals, social networking sites and even corporate nets that provide access services for third parties are not covered under the safe harbour act,\u201d Coroneos said.\n\u201cIn the US, it is fundamentally different where there is such thing as an \u2018online service provider\u2019. This is a significant and glaring oversight and needs to be rectified.\u201d\nIn a worst case scenario, universities challenged over copyright infringement on their networks would not be able to argue whether they should be held liable.\nAbout 30 people, mostly CIOs, participated in the videoconference.\n\u201cAARNet itself has been classified as a carriage service provider and so would have safe harbour protection,\u201d Coroneos said. \u201cIt\u2019s the interface with the user and the university network and what activities occur there.\n\u201cThe peak body for universities, Universities Australia, is calling for more safe harbour and equal protection for equal liability. Now there is no liability, but if that were overturned they want equal protection.\u201d\nCoroneos said it would be difficult for the Federal Government not to support more protection for copyright infringement that occurred on university networks.\n\u201cUniversities do and will have acceptable use policies, but the outcome will cause a complete rethink,\u201d he said, adding CIOs need to understand how to manage the risk.\nHe believes the long-term solution to copyright infringement is not legislation, but low cost alternatives that will move the market to better support content creators.\n\u201cWe need a degree of cultural change as the culture is reacting to the economic issue,\u201d he said. \u201cSometimes people have no legal means of accessing content in Australia.\u201d\nCoroneos said even in today\u2019s \u201cTV through ISPs\u201d environment, the content people need to come to the party and make their content more accessible to more people otherwise infringement will remain a problem.\nIn November, the Federal Court rejected an application by the IIA to be heard in the trial between iiNet and AFACT, ruling its submission irrelevant.