Consumer alliance put on hold for Sharman trial involvement

Three allied consumer groups were told today they'll have to wait before their application to join the battle between Sharman Networks and various Australian record labels is considered. The NSW Council of Civil Liberties, Australian Consumer Association and Electronic Frontiers Australia were told by presiding Justice Murray Wilcox that he will consider the groups' participation in the trial once all the evidence has been reviewed.

Three allied consumer groups were told today they'll have to wait before their application to join the battle between Sharman Networks and various Australian record labels is considered.

The NSW Council of Civil Liberties, Australian Consumer Association and Electronic Frontiers Australia were told by presiding Justice Murray Wilcox that he will consider the groups' participation in the trial once all the evidence has been reviewed.

The alliance applied to enter the trial on amicus brief (or friend of the court) status on behalf of the respondents, Sharman Networks and affiliated parties.

Sharman is facing copyright infringement charges from Universal Music Australia and other record label applicants relating to its management of the peer-to-peer file sharing software Kazaa.

Wilcox said he will "stand over" the application until all the evidence has been seen by the court and then decide "if there is anything they can add to it".

Wilcox said he is not sure what he could achieve by granting formal leave for the applicants today, adding "as Mr Nicholas said I should see the colour of your coin before I let you add to the paper pile".

Lead counsel for the Universal parties, John Nicholas, questioned the motivation of the group's application in this matter. However, according to Wilcox an amicus brief is typically in support of one of the parties.

A spokesperson for the Music Industry Piracy Investigations -- the body behind the investigation into the Sharman Networks companies - said they also have reservations behind the group's involvement in the case.

"The three organisations that filed the motion this morning proved that they were friends of Kazaa and not the court," she said.

She added "we don't expect that they will meet the standards for involvement in this matter."

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