Five days closer to a Kazaa resolution ... or not?
The Kazaa appeal has been heard. It must be over
Well, five days have passed and the appeal by the record companies and Kazaa has been heard. We await a judgment. In the meantime, here are some observations from the appeal.
To these eyes, the appeal before the Full Court of the Federal Court was a very different animal to the main case.
Firstly, there were no witnesses before the court - the appeal comprised of barristers presenting their cases before the three judges of the Fed Court (and occasionally being interrupted by them!).
Secondly, there was little evidence presented - although Mr Bannon, SC for the record companies, went over a great deal of evidence from the main case including screen shots.
Thirdly, the judges were extremely involved in proceedings - challenging the barristers, pushing, prodding, demanding answers to the important questions. In particular, Mr Bannon, surprisingly, was a target for this sort of exchange. He certainly did not get an easy run with many things he had to say.
Finally, while I listened to the verbal submissions with great interest, it's important to note that written submissions will have a huge influence on the decision - so there is a lot more to the case than the verbal jousting.
As for my earlier predictions on likely hot topics in the appeal, here is how I went:
(1) The role of filtering - yes, a huge issue.
(2) The global nature of the internet - not really a major issue.
(3) Audible magic as a solution to the problem of internet-based infringement - not really mentioned.
(4) The meaning of authorisation under Australian law - another huge issue, probably the biggest of the appeal.
The wildcard topics I didn't pick were the more general topic of filtering, the role of industry codes, and the status of the digital revolution. Other than on morning one, the media were largely absent from the case. After more than two years, obviously-mainstream media weren't feigning lack of interest in the case! Despite this, various Federal Court pundits had a great deal to say on these issues, as did the record companies' media person. We heard the usual claims about the record companies dominating the case, yet after the five days, most in the court were tipping that Kazaa had gained some ground.
Let's go to transcript quotes, and check out some of they key statements from the lawyers who were involved.