Law firms Infinitus Law Corporation and Rajah & Tann will come head to head in an IP infringement case that has stirred the online anime community to action.
Rajah & Tann is advising five media studios - Showgate, Geneon Entertainment, TV Tokyo, GDH KK and Sunrise - that are suing four 'heavy downloaders' for allegedly acquiring the studios' anime cartoons illegally using BitTorrent.
Infinitus' Wong Siew Hong, head of the firm's IP litigation, is representing two of the accused downloaders, Felix Lukman and Koh Lian Boon.
The case has caused a flurry of online activity, with one online group, XedoDefense, undertaking a fund drive for the defence of the two accused. Several members of the group have posted comments criticising Singapore's IP laws and urging action to "fight" the court pressure being placed on the accused by Rajah & Tann.
"As they [Rajah & Tann] have already escalated the situation to actual court action, the pressure on the accused, whether guilty or not, persons would be even greater," wrote one member, 'Xedo Senshi'. "The only possible way to fight this is by grouping together."
Wong said that his firm has no business relationship with XedoDefense but is aware of the fund drive. The law suit, said to be first of its kind, is likely to set a legal precedent. Wong, however, remains somewhat sceptical.
"Any case has potential for proving legal precedents; this is no more different," he said. "Having said that, the very nature of the claim and issues involved make it apparent that there are novel issues that need to be determined by the courts. These are of obvious interest to many people. We'll wait and see how it develops."
Rajah & Tann declined to comment.