Kazaa demands Oz trial delay

Wants to wait for Grokster/MPAA appeal verdict

Kazaa today asked the Australian Federal Court to suspend proceedings brought against it by local music industry representatives for alleged copyright infringement.

Lawyers representing the file-sharing service's parent company, Sharman Networks, also said they plan to challenge the validity of a court order that paved the way for a series of raids on Net companies and universities last week.

Those raids were conducted by Music Industry Privacy Investigations (MIPI), a body affiliated with the Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA). They were conducted to seek evidence to back up the legal action taken by MIPI against Sharman, which opened today.

Sharman asked the Court to wait until the US Court of Appeal rules in a case brought by the Motion Picture Ass. of America (MPAA) and other content industry organisation against the owners of P2P services Grokster and Morpheus is completed. The hearing opened last Wednesday.

Last April, the US District Court ruled that file-sharing companies could not be held liable for acts of copyright infringement made by their users. The MPAA and co. are appealing against that verdict, claiming that the precedent on which it was based - essentially that video recorder makers are not responsible for video piracy - no longer applies now that anti-piracy technology exists.

Sharman's lawyers also claimed that MIPI did not present the all the information it should have when applying for the Anton Pillar orders that enabled last week's raids. They claim MIPI did not tell the judge, Justice Murray Wilcox, that Sharman had already agreed to submit to depositions and co-operate fully with the US Court of Appeal proceedings.

The Anton Pillar orders have also been challenged by the three universities raided: the University of Queensland, the University of New South Wales and Monash University. On Friday, MIPI agreed to keep aside information acquired during these three particular raids until a further court order has been obtained.

Sharman's Australian lawyers are being advised by David Casselman, the company's legal representative in the US Appeal Court hearing. He believes that the appeals tribunal will reaffirm the original verdict.

"[Kazaa's situation] is no different than the Xerox corporation when students use their copiers and they know that students use their copiers to make photocopies of protected works," he told reporters outside the courtroom.

"Is the university liable if they know this?"

Equally confident, MIPI managing director said: "We're comfortable with the action we've taken and confident of a successful outcome."

The case will continue on 20 February. ®

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