A landmark court ruling could have lasting implications in the on-going fight against illegal downloading and file sharing. The federal court justice Nye Perram handed down the verdict in Australia in favour of film studio Dallas Buyers Club LLC, who own the rights to the Oscar winning movie starring Matthew Mcconaughey.

Dallas Buyers ClubDallas Buyers Club saw Jared Leto [L] and Matthew McConaughey [R] both winning Oscars

The studio had requested that iiNet (and several other Australian ISPs) divulge the identity of customers whose IP addresses were found to have shared the movie illegally. The company had identified a total of 4726 IP addresses that engaged in illegal activity and the ruling means that the company will now be given the contact details of the offenders and will be able to pursue them for compensation.

More: read our full review of The Dallas Buyers Club

Essentially it means that thousands of Australians could be being sued directly for copyright breaches. Information that must now be shared with Dallas Buyers Club LLC include the names, email addresses and residential addresses of those who allegedly committed the copyright breach.

The IP addresses identified belonged to those who "seeded" the movie - essentially making it available for download on a peer-to-peer network. The rights holders are believed to have used technology from German firm Maverickeye UG to track down the culprits.

It is not yet known whether iiNet will appeal the decision but they now have 28 days to do so. It is considered a true watershed moment and will no doubt have a lasting impact on Australian ISPs and their customers. 

More: Jared Leto has yet to watch Dallas Buyers Club - six months after winning Oscar