Australian court rules against Kazaa music service

An Australian court ruled today that Internet file-sharing operator Kazaa infringed the country's copyright laws and it ordered the company to install filters to prevent future violations.

After an 18-month trial, the Federal Court of Australia ruled that Kazaa violated Australian copyright law by authorizing users to infringe music companies' copyright in recordings. The decision comes 10 weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that file- sharing operators could be held liable if they induce people to violate music copyrights.

“Within the space of 10 weeks, two courts in different continents and hemispheres have given a huge boost to the efforts by music and technology companies to forge a legal online music business,” said John Kennedy, chairman and chief executive of the London-based International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, in an e-mailed statement, reports Bloomberg.

According to the The Daily Telegraph, Kazaa owner Sharman Networks, which was sued by 30 record companies including Sony BMG, Universal and EMI, was given two months to comply.

More than 317 million people worldwide have downloaded the Kazaa software, developed by Sharman Networks, owned by Nikki Hemming, and Altnet, owned by Kevin Bermeister.

The pair met a decade ago while running the ill-fated Segaworld theme park at Darling Harbour.

Kazaa, which admits its customers download more than three billion files a year, is believed to have had more than 50 lawyers fighting its case.

The court also ordered Kazaa to pay 90 per cent of the music industry's legal costs of more than $9 million.

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