destra backs Kazaa shutdown

An Australian legal music download company partnered with major record labels has backed the blocking of Kazaa to new Australian users as a sign piracy will no longer be tolerated by authorities here.

An Australian legal music download company partnered with major record labels has backed the blocking of Kazaa to new Australian users as a sign piracy will no longer be tolerated by authorities here.

Destra Media -- a division of the publicly-listed Destra Corporation -- said in a statement posted on the Australian Stock Exchange today "the shutdown of Kazaa in Australia symbolises that piracy of digital music and video and copyright infringement is no longer tolerated by Australian courts and criminal authorities".

Destra -- which makes available paid music and video downloads from companies such as Sony BMG, Warner and EMI on destraMusic.com -- said it expected to "be a major beneficiary" of increased global enforcement against music piracy. Sony, Warner, EMI and others are participants in the long-running civil case against the owners of Kazaa.

Executives from Destra described a 5 September Federal Court ruling that Kazaa-owner Sharman and associated parties infringed music industry copyright themselves and authorised users of Kazaa to infringe copyright as "a significant breakthrough for the Australian music industry.

"It is expected that such enforcement will result in the prosecution of facilitators and individuals as has occurred extensively in the [United States]," it said.

Carl Olsen, Destra's chairman, said enforcement of the September orders would ensure the legal music download market in Australia would "grow in excess of 45 times over the next four years as estimated by IDC recently".

Just before midnight on 5 December, Sharman Networks blocked new Australian users from accessing the Web site from which Kazaa can be downloaded and warned existing Australian users not to use the software.

Sharman argues the move complies with the Federal Court orders. However, the record companies claim the move does not comply with court orders specifying that Sharman release a new version of Kazaa with a filter restricting users' ability to search for copyright-protected music files.

The court approved the measure as temporary ahead of Sharman's appeal against the September ruling. That appeal is due to be heard on 20 February. The record companies are also seeking millions of dollars in damages against the Sharman parties.

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