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ISPs raided in MP3 probe
MARCH 06, 2003
FEDERAL police have executed search warrants on Telstra and internet company Eftel in one of Australia's largest investigations into alleged music piracy, which could be worth up to $60 million.
Warrants were also executed at several other un-named internet service providers, with more warrants possible as the investigation continues.
It's understood the police were seeking information about the identities of particular subscribers, as well as music files that may have been stored by them on servers.
According to sources, the wholesale value of the allegedly pirated music may be as high as $60 million - making it one of Australia's largest copyright infringement investigations.
A police spokeswoman confirmed that officers, accompanied by computer forensics experts, visited a Telstra facility in Melbourne and Eftel's Perth offices, as part of ongoing investigations.
Search warrants were also executed at several other ISPs, which she declined to name.
She said the execution of these warrants was part of "related investigations".
The Australian understands that the investigations are at an early stage, and that more ISPs may yet be searched.
Simon Ehrenfeld, the chief executive of Eftel parent company Datafast Telecommunications, said the company had co-operated with police, and had provided information relating to a subscriber. The ISP had also closed the subscriber's website.
"We are a large ISP, and we get police in frequently with warrants asking for information relating to the activities of particular subscribers," he said.
A Telstra spokesman confirmed a police search had been undertaken, but said "these things happen all the time".Eftel has about 50,000 subscribers. Telstra has about 1.4 million.
The investigation comes as the music industry lines up against alleged pirates at some of Australia's top universities.
In an unrelated matter, music labels Sony, EMI and Universal have taken the University of Sydney, the University of Tasmania and the University of Melbourne to the Federal Court in an effort to secure information about alleged piracy.
The three universities have agreed to preserve possible evidence, but they're expected to fight any attempt to get them to hand this over when the case resumes later this month.
Overseas, the recording industry is suing Australian-run file-sharing network Kazaa, which allows users to swap music files stored on their personal computers.