MIPI makes piracy sweep
FEBRUARY 06, 2004
THE music industry has moved against file swapping service Kazaa, with lawyers fronting the company's Sydney headquarters armed with an Anton Pillar order.
Lawyers acting for Music Industry Piracy Investigations also used the orders to attempt searches of 12 other premises around the country, including universities, ISPs and a major telecommunications company.
Anton Pillar orders allow a copyright owner to enter and search premises and inspect documents.
Kazaa is an international network that allows users to trade electronic music files over the internet. Its operations are based in Australia.
The move dramatically ups the stakes in the industry's push against alleged piracy. The last big action was a Federal Court tussle late last year with major universities over access to network records investigators hoped could lead them to evidence of illegal copying.
Australia has led the world in action against pirates, with two Sydney university students given 18 month suspended jail terms in November last year for their part in a pirate music site that offered 1000 songs for download. It was believed to be the world's first successful criminal prosecution for music piracy.
But the music industry has suffered a number of high-profile defeats in recent months, with the most recent being a Dutch court ruling that upheld an earlier judgement that the original developers of Kazaa, two Dutch programmers, could not be held liable for copyright violations by users.
The decision followed a similar US court ruling on software developed by competitors Grokster and StreamCast Networks. That decision is subject to an appeal this month.
Sharman is also fighting its own battle in the US courts, with action by the music industry pending in the District Court in Los Angeles. It has responded to the claims with a countersuit, alleging anti-competitive behaviour by the record companies.
Comment is being sought from a Sharman Networks spokesperson.