AUSTRALIANS should be prepared for threatening letters demanding they "pay up or else" for downloading movies online, the Pirate Party says.
The judgment handed down in the Federal Court case between iiNet and the owners of the movie Dallas Buyers Club means the internet provider must hand over the details of customers who "seeded" the illegally downloaded movie on file sharing websites.
iiNet originally refused to out its customers, believing they would be used as part of "speculative invoicing" - sending letters demanding downloaders pay large sums or face criminal proceedings.
Pirate Party secretary Daniel Judge said the practice had been "criticised strongly" in the United Kingdom and was "predatory to say the least".
"Speculative invoicing is a bullying tactic. Movie studios know that most people will not be able to afford to challenge these allegations in court, so they offer a settlement that in moderate numbers can be quite lucrative," he said.
"In the United States, settlement figures have been reported as around $5000 - which many people choose to pay even if they're innocent.
"This decision paves the way for speculative invoicing in Australia, and we may soon see indiscriminate letters demanding internet users 'pay up or else' being issued soon as other copyright holders and their representatives jump on the bandwagon."
The political party has no members of parliament in Australia, but is part of a global movement standing for freedom of information and speech.