The gangland war moves online

It may have started on the streets of Melbourne, but it’s now an online war. 24 hours after its screening and here is the shakedown from Nine’s Underbelly premiere:

* it attracted bumper ratings
* Nine is warning of legal action over downloaders
* a court appeal will commence today

The Nine Network is considering legal action against breaches of copyright over the distribution of Underbelly.

ninemsn reports the ISP address of the first person to upload the show had been obtained by the network.

The network said in a statement that any uploading of Underbelly is “an infringement of our copyright”.

“We do not condone any other parties interfering with our rights and if necessary we will take legal action,” the statement read.

The Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) is currently investigating the matter, and is expected to make a list of recommendations to Victoria Police.

“It is a criminal offence to upload copyrighted property,” AFACT operations director Neil Gane said.

“We are investigating a members-only site that, as of today, is listing Underbelly as well as various other movie and TV titles.”

European-based websites began offering the series within 20 minutes of it concluding in New South Wales. These have seen downloads in the tens of thousands. Two Australian-hosted torrents sites have gone offline since, aptly, the drama went online.

The Office of Public Prosecutions yesterday refused to comment on any legal move against a South Melbourne hotel which held a public screening via a WA satellite feed.

The controversy surrounding the series ensured it was the number #1 show in all cities outside Melbourne. Nine attracted 1.3m viewers, which had it enjoyed the hometown audience, would likely have hit figures over 2m.

Meanwhile, Nine will start its appeal against a Supreme Court ban on Underbelly today at 2.15pm. The Age reports that lawyers acting for Nine will lodge an affidavit detailing why the appeal should be listed expeditiously.

Sources: ninemsn The Age

Press Release:

The Nine Network’s compelling and controversial Australian drama series UNDERBELLY was the most successful Australian drama launch for Sydney and in the 25-54 year-old demographic since the new OzTam ratings system was introduced.

UNDERBELLY, the dramatisation of Melbourne ’s infamous gangland killings was also the number one show of the night for the 25-54 demographic, even without a Melbourne audience. UNDERBELLY was not shown in Victoria last night due to a court order suppressing its broadcast in that state.

Last night’s debut of UNDERBELLY attracted a peak audience of 1.475 million and an average audience across the two hour broadcast of 1.325 million viewers (All People, excluding Melbourne).

The two hour series premiere was the number one program of the night for All People in all markets that it aired – Sydney , Brisbane , Adelaide and Perth .

It was also the number one program in Sydney , Brisbane , Adelaide and Perth for the key 25-54 demographic.

UNDERBELLY was must-see viewing with the audience staying for the 2 hour broadcast.

In Sydney , it attracted a peak audience of 685,000. Brisbane – 345,000, Adelaide – 215,000 and Perth – 259,000.

UNDERBELLY attracted an average audience across the two hours of 617,000 viewers in Sydney, Brisbane – 293,000, Adelaide – 189,000 and Perth – 226,000.


  1. Nine is desperate. They shouldn’t have broadcast the show if they didn’t want it on P2P networks hours later – what did they think was going to happen? after they created all the buzz, the series banned in NSW, did they really think this wasn’t going to happen?

    Nine needs all the help it can get with its TV channel at the moment, and they’re going to prosecute over free publicity for Underbelly? Retards.

  2. The Human Dree

    Oh the Police are well within in there bounds!
    ISP of course being Internet Service Provider but for every session you have on the internet you are assigned an IP adress that details what account you are attached to (i.e name, address, all the details you signed up with) what you did online, how long you were online etc etc.
    When you sign up with your ISP you agree to a set of rules and conditions stating that if you engage in any sort of illegal or malicous use then your details may be recorded for future reference.
    Just a few months back when the Simpsons movie came out a young man in Queensland recorded the film on his mobile phone while viewing it in a cinema, he went home and uploaded it and a few days later he was arrested for copyright infringment and possesing material to create illegal copies (or something along those lines).
    If you use the internet to upload pirated movies, and the studios or distributors lodge a complaint with the authorities, it will be investigated.
    Ip’s are probably the easiest things to trace on the internet because they are so basic and have been around since the net has been in operation. 🙂

  3. How long have countless American corperations tried to shutdown Internet piracy and failed? And the Nine/Australian Govt think they can come along and stop it?

    I scoff at thee.

    (And if anything, this is great publicity for Nine. This is their big break. They’ve got American crtics calling it the Australian-‘Sopranos’.)

  4. Yes, because there isn’t any othe rimportant crimes to solve that police have to spend tax=payers’ funds on tracking illegal downloaders.

    One would think the country was crime free if police can waste money tracking down internet geeks. Come on people.

  5. I know its illegal but I feel sympathy for any Victorians who want to see Underbelly. I guess people will just have to send recordings to Victoria and hope no one intercepts them.

  6. Haha funny, it reminds me when the Police said they will use google earth to try and catch some thieves. Making out they would be photographed. We all know google Eart is not a feed, so they try and scare people. ISP address’s mean nothing, just who the ISP is.

  7. Problem here is in most cases it will get released by some of the larger encoding groups first. In which case the ISP won’t be an Australian one. The initial upload might not even have the word “underbelly” in the title.

  8. Isn’t it a case of “trying to find a needle in a haystack”, are nine really going to be able to do something about that person(whoever they are)who was the first person to upload Underbelly?

  9. They’ve obtained the “ISP address of the first person to upload the show”?

    So in other words, they think they know which ISP it came from. But not who it was – they couldn’t possibly know. They’d need a court order, surely, to force the ISP to reveal the user in question.

    Sounds like a bit of the stuff from the rear end of the bull to me…

  10. man good luck with that one!
    If there gonna bust them for that how, there gonna have to bust people for every other show as well!!
    I said it in another post but you get one and ten take there place. Its a near impossible war to win.

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