London, UK (September 7, 2005)–The IFPI, the organization that promotes the interests of the international recording industry worldwide, has welcomed a landmark court judgment establishing that the internet peer-to-peer operator Kazaa is illegal, and called on similar networks throughout the world to stop infringing copyright or face the legal consequences.
The judgment, coming just 10 weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the ‘file-sharing’ operator Grokster, concludes the 18-month trial of the best-known international file-swapping service and helps to lay down the law for the new generation of unauthorized peer-to-peer operators. The federal court of Australia ruled that Kazaa–until recently the world’s biggest single internet piracy operation with 2.4 million users worldwide–is an illegal business that is liable for copyright infringement.
The move is part of a global trend clarifying the rules around internet music distribution. A court ruling in Korea last month required the peer-to-peer service Soribada to stop unauthorized file swapping on its network or shut down.
The ruling in Sydney by Justice Murray Wilcox is the culmination of legal proceedings, which were brought by the Australian recording industry in 2004 against a number of parties involved in Kazaa. Judge Wilcox ruled that companies and individuals associated with Kazaa knowingly facilitated and profited from massive copyright infringement, failed to take any measures to stop it and must now start to filter its infringing recordings within two months or face closure.
Justice Wilcox made findings of liability against Sharman Networks, LEF Interactive Pty Ltd, Altnet Inc, and Brilliant Digital Entertainment Inc, along with executives Nicola Hemming and Kevin Bermeister. In his landmark judgment Justice Wilcox concluded that Sharman had power to prevent, or at least substantially reduce, the incidence of copyright file sharing. Yet Sharman did nothing; even when it introduced KMD v3 [the latest version of the software] one week before commencement of the trial of these proceedings.
IFPI represents the recording industry worldwide with over 1450 members in 75 countries and affiliated industry associations in 48 countries.