ISP staff face MP3 lawsuit

The music industry has successfully added a director and an employee of an Australian Internet service provider to a court case

The music industry has succeeded in having a director and an employee of an Internet service provider added to a court case against a Web site allegedly offering illegal music files.

In October last year, several major record labels sued Comcen for hosting the Web site www.mp3s4free.net, which it alleged offered copyright-infringing music files for download. In November, the record labels moved to have two directors of Comcen, Liam Bal and Peter Stevens, and employee Chris Takoushis included in the litigation, although Peter Stevens was later dropped after proving he was not involved in the day-to-day running of the ISP.

In a five minute session of the Federal Court in Sydney, Justice Brian Tamberlin has ruled that both Liam Bal and Chris Takoushis would be included in the litigation and will now have to defend themselves against charges of copyright infringement. The two men will meet with their lawyers next week to decide a course of action.

The move to include individuals involved with the ISP in the litigation is intended to scare employees of companies into reporting behaviour they believe to be illegal and the music industry's copyright enforcement arm, Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI), has offered amnesty to any whistleblowers.

A second motion bought by Comcen to have an associated company, E-Talk Communications, removed from the litigation was rejected, and now both companies will face the music industry in court. The case is likely to resume later this month.

ZDNet Australia's James Pearce reported from Sydney. For more coverage on ZDNet Australia, click here.

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