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Music biz threatens International Red Cross

Demands freeze on cash from Kazaa-funded trust

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Australian anti-piracy operatives are seeking a freeze on funds donated to the International Red Cross by a Vanuatu-based trust fund run by Sharman Networks - maker of Kazaa P2P software.

The recording industry is asking the Red Cross to voluntarily freeze the cash pending the outcome of an Australian court case brought against Sharman by several record companies. The suit alleges that Sharman "has directly and indirectly infringed on the recording companies' copyrights, violated Australian fair trade laws and conspired to harm the music industry", according to a Wired report.

Michael Speck of Australia’s Music Industry Piracy Investigations said: "We're preparing our approach to the International Red Cross. I believe this whole thing will come as a complete surprise to them, and we’re only approaching them to stop them disposing of any funds."

Speck expressed his hope that the Red Cross would co-operate, adding: "It would be incredibly disappointing if we had to sue them."

Sharman has responded by declaring that the music biz's approach is "quite simply staggering", as the company's lawyer Mary Still put it.

The ongoing Sharman v Recording Industry case has been adjourned until next March, when both sides can make final oral submissions. The outcome depends on the judge's opinion of the music industry's assertion that the "primary activity of Kazaa users is to infringe copyright" - something that Sharman allegedly does nothing to prevent. ®

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