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Music industry raids Kazaa's Australia HQ

Telcos, Net firms, universities targeted too

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Australian music industry investigators yesterday raided the premises of Kazaa's parent company, Sharman Networks, and four other Internet businesses, including the offices of Telstra, the nation's chief telco.

Music Industry Privacy Investigations (MIPI) also targeted the University of Queensland, the University of New South Wales and Monash University.

The raids came after MIPI was granted a court order permitting it to search for evidence that KaZaA is complicit in the illegal trade of unauthorised copies of songs. The organisation plans to use documents seized in the raids in court proceedings

"Kazaa has built a large international business through encouraging and authorising the illegal copying of music users of its network. It authorises this copying without seeking the licence or permission of the owners and creators of the music, nor does it pay any royalties to either the owners or creators of the music," said MIPI chief Michael Speck, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report.

Sharman Networks described the raid as a "cynical attempt" to "discredit" the company and to "disrupt its business".

"It is a gross misrepresentation of Sharman's business to suggest that the company in any way facilitates or encourages copyright infringement," it said.

In addition to Kazaa, Telstra and the universities, MIPI raided the offices of Brilliant Digital Entertainment, Akamai Technologies AAP, NTT Australia and NTT Australia IP.

The raids are part of a six-month investigation, MIPI said, the results of which will be presented before the Federal Court next Tuesday.

MIPI is a subsidiary of the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). "ARIA supports the industry's move to stop the illegal behaviour of file sharing networks," said Steven Peach, ARIA's CEO. "The 'free ride' simply can't continue indefinitely at the expense of the owners and creators of the music." ®

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