Top 100 songs named in Sharman court battle

Universal Music Australia has revealed the top 100 songs that it will focus on in proceedings against peer-to-peer software distributor Sharman Networks in one of the biggest music copyright infringement cases the Australian music industry has experienced. The top 100 songs revealed by the Universal and affiliated record label parties' lawyer, senior counsel John Nicolas, included the ironically titled international hits "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy, and "No Need to Argue" by the Cranberries.

Universal Music Australia has revealed the top 100 songs that it will focus on in proceedings against peer-to-peer software distributor Sharman Networks in one of the biggest music copyright infringement cases the Australian music industry has experienced.

The top 100 songs revealed by the Universal and affiliated record label parties' lawyer, senior counsel John Nicolas, included the ironically titled international hits "It Wasn't Me" by Shaggy, and "No Need to Argue" by the Cranberries.

The Universal parties were ordered to "trim down" their case size in proceedings earlier this year, leading the group to single out the top 100 songs that it will focus its case on for the trial scheduled for 29 November this year.

The case has been in court since last February, with Sharman Networks disputing copyright infringement charges against it over its peer-to-peer file sharing software Kazaa.

Among the Australian acts included in the list of downloaded songs is Brisbane outfit Powderfinger, as well as Alex Lloyd, Jet, The Living End, Delta Goodrem and Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian.

Nicholas SC also contended in the Federal Court hearing last Tuesday that the Universal party will continue to pursue the identity of Sharman Networks' elusive owner and its unidentified corporate structure.

Nicholas described the issue of Sharman's control as a "very real one" and said the mystery is impeding the group's ability to gather evidence.

"Certainly I won't be able to bring forward all the documents we rely on by the 24th, that fall within that category, because that category in relation to discovery in still not resolved," he said, referring to the deadline set by presiding Justice Murray Wilcox for requests of evidence relating to copyright as part of the discovery process.

"I have to say that from what we have seen the Sharman group has been structured in a way that is deliberately calculated to conceal control," added Nicholas.

"So we will at some time have to make an application, your Honour, for an order that those documents [relating to the identity of Sharman's owner] be produced. They are not going to be volunteered and despite the best will in the world as between my learned friend and myself, that's not going to bring them out," he said.

Justice Wilcox scheduled a hearing on 14 October for the court to "deal with" the issue of Sharman's ownership and corporate structure.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for 24 September to finalise affidavit submissions and the evidential discovery process.

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