UPDATE: MIPI raids Sharman Networks, Brilliant Digital Entertainment

UPDATE: MIPI raids Sharman Networks, Brilliant Digital Entertainment

Summary: MIPI raids Sharman Networks, BDE

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TOPICS: Piracy, Legal, Security
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UPDATE:Music Industry Piracy Investigations this morning raided the offices of P2P companies Sharman Networks and Brilliant Digital Entertainment, along with the homes of key executives and several ISPs.

MIPI obtained an Anton Pillar order - which allows a copyright holder to enter a premises to search for and seize material that breaches copyright without alerting the target beforehand - yesterday from Justice Murray Wilcox, and began raiding premises in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria this morning searching for documents and electronic evidence to support its case against the peer-to-peer companies.

In addition to the offices of Sharman Networks and Brilliant Digital Entertainment (BDE), MIPI raided the residences of Sharman Networks' CEO Nikki Hemming, Brilliant Digital Entertainment Chief Executive Officer and President Kevin Burmeister and Phil Morle, Director of Technology at Sharman Networks. Monash University, the University of Queensland and the University of New South Wales were also raided, as well as four ISPs including Telstra.

"Telstra lawyers are presently working with lawyers from the record labels in order to determine exactly what information is being sought under the terms of the order," Telstra spokesman Warwick Ponder told ZDNet Australia  . "We have not been asked for and will not provide any BigPond subscriber information."

"Telstra has made it very clear for a long time now that it does not support copyright infringement or any other illegal activity," said Ponder. "At the same time Telstra clearly respects its obligation to protect customers information and privacy under the Telecommunication Act and Privacy Act under Federal law."

MIPI general manager Michael Speck told ZDNet Australia   the order was specifically targeted at the operators of the Kazaa network. "This is not about individuals, this is about the big fish," said Speck. "This is a signal that Internet music piracy is finished in Australia." The ISPs and Universities were raided to gain evidence about the operators of the Kazaa network.

The investigation into the Kazaa network has been ongoing for six months, and was precipitated by a significant change in the physical and technical structure of Sharman Networks, according to Speck. "The Kazaa operation infringes copyright within the terms of the Australian Copyright Act," he said.

"This action appears to be an extraordinary waste of time, money and resources going over legal ground that has been well and truly covered in the US and Dutch Courts over the past 18 months," said Sharman Networks in a statement. "This is a knee-jerk reaction by the recording industry to discredit Sharman Networks and the Kazaa software, following a number of recent court decisions around the world that have ruled against the entertainment industry's agenda to stamp out peer-to-peer technology."

Sharman Networks became a target for the music industry when it purchased the Kazaa peer-to-peer file-sharing technology from its Dutch creators Kazaa BV in 2002. It has had a long relationship with BDE, and in 2002 had to defend against a backlash when it was revealed spyware had been included with the Kazaa software. BDE subsidiary Altnet was later formed and offered to pay people for hosting content on the Kazaa network.

"Kazaa operators know the difference and make the decision as to whether they facilitate legitimate or illegitimate downloads," said Speck. "It's very clear they are facilitating and authorising global copyright infringement."

Sharman disagreed, claiming it bought the Kazaa software "with the express purpose of building it into a legitimate channel for the distribution of licensed, copyright protected content which in turn financially benefits artists".

"There is no doubt this is a cynical attempt by the industry to disrupt our business, regain lost momentum, and garner publicity," said Sharman. "The assertions by plaintiffs are hackneyed and worn out. It is a gross misrepresentation of Sharman's business to suggest that the company in any way facilitates or encourages copyright infringement."

Monash University and the University of Queensland have challenged the order, and the arguments will be heard before Justice Wilcox at 3.30 pm today.

Sharman Networks, Australian subsidiary LEF Interactive and BDE will face the record company lawyers before Justice Wilcox on Tuesday.

According to MIPI, there are around three million users simultaneously online and connected to the Kazaa network at any one time sharing around 573 million files. Over 850,000 tracks are made available by over 2,500 Australian users. If each downloaded track was purchased for US$0.99 the total would be over US$2 billion per month globally.

Topics: Piracy, Legal, Security

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77 comments
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  • MIPI has nothing better to do
    anonymous
  • "This is a signal that Internet music piracy is finished in Australia." ha ha ha - what a dork saying something so stupid.

    Let's see "No child will be living in poverty by the year..." - another stupid quote.

    These guys are bone-heads if they think this will stop people. New smarter peer-peer systems are already out and more in the pipeline.

    MIPI - try working with people instead of beating up people - that's called Win-Win. This mindless chasing people will involve more and more of your resources and people will make it harder and harder for you to find them.

    Look at what others are doing - offer a product for a fair price and people will pay - otherwise keep spending a greater portion of your profit on chasing down people.

    So far you are the losers in more way than one.
    anonymous
  • Yeah , I can see it now...

    Today an mp3 dealer was arrested in an early morning raid by 'The Mp3 Squad' in posession of three hundred illegal mp3's , which the dealer was allegedly planning to sell in an mp3 hotspot on the outskirts of Melbourne. Officers from 'The Mp3 Squad' said "this is a big win for them" after 6 months of surveillance operations during Operation 'Force Those Kids To Pay'.

    He was taken to the remand centre and is expected to be refused bail.
    anonymous
  • Copyright is something the community grants to people in the interest of social benefits, but the record companies are abusing this right in the interests of monoploy and profit. Heavy handed tactics will simply expose the moral bankrupcy of their position.
    anonymous
  • the artical referes to using the US download price, but that service is not avalable to australians if I recall correctly.
    anonymous
  • Hmmm... If the artists were actually getting more of the money in royalities from the recording companies instead of ripping them off and taking away their rights, I might actually give a damn about things like copyright and such.

    If an artist was to put their music up online (like David Bowie) and offered it out for say $0.50AUD a download, I would be quite happy to pay for it. But when I am forced to pay upto $30.00 a CD for a single song I like... to hell with that, I'll just go and look for it on the net...
    anonymous
  • What a load garbage the money hungry record industry is. Music is a series of symbols written in a certain sequence on a series of bars. So if some programmer, don,t tell Bill Gates, wrote a program that put these notes in every order possible, and copyrighted every one then everyone who wrote or published a piece of music would be breaking the law. Which reminds me of the infinate number of monkeys, turned there typewriting skills to music, and wrote every Metallica song, Metallica is suing them for infinate millions of dollars.
    Music invention dear people was credited to Boethius (c. 475 - 525 ) so is the record industry going to pay his relatives copyright on every piece of music they have recorded....lol.
    anonymous
  • Can MIPI go after channel 10 for putting on the Hot house and wasting valuable space that could be filled by up and coming young tv/film producers who *have* talent.
    anonymous
  • Dear music industry - Is ignorance of the blindingly obvious a pre-requsite for your job? If you made available what I wanted to buy, I'd buy it - but my taste in music doesn't seem to fit with what you want to sell. Example - I watched the movie "Pi" and enjoyed the soundtrack and wanted to buy the album. None of the four shops selling CD's in my local Westfield had it, and none seemed bothered about ordering it for me. One finally did - that was last August. It still hasn't come in. And you wonder why I renewed my acquaintance with Kazaa Lite?
    anonymous
  • Terrorism is alive and well in Australia, its name is MIPI (or should we say RIAA's Puppet, yet another case of American hands fair up Australian arses) These are the people we must fear, not Al-Qaeda.
    anonymous
  • The estimate of $2 billion is meaningless. Why? Because very few of the files traded by people are of pieces of music that those people would actually go out and buy. Pure and simple. If there was no file sharing, music sales would not increase by $2 billion. Maybe some people would take a risk on the unknown and buy a small fraction of the music they trade, but that's a small number. So the real figure of lost revenue is a tiny fraction of $2 billion. It is merely sensationalist to toss around such a large figure, and obscures the larger issue:
    Why does the music industry promote crappy bands and overcharge for CDs?
    anonymous
  • rofl. I love how these corporate business pr people have absolutely no understanding of technology OR human nature. The end of p2p.... lmao. hahhahahahahahhhahahahahahahahahahahahahahah.

    Look how long you've been ragging on kazaa/sharman. LOOK HOW LONG. Now guess what. plenty of people have taken apart the fasttrack protocol. All you have to do is change it slightly, and setup a new business around it and you'll have to go through this whole process again. This is hilarious.

    They'd be better off not being so god damn greedy, accepting the fact that some people will use p2p for this, and stop alienating their customers. I will personally never buy anything from a RIAA supported record label ever again.
    anonymous
  • How utterly pathetic wasting good money on something so trivial. Yeah these people downloading a song are a threat to national security, hang them all.
    anonymous
  • Oooh, I've always thought "copyright" means I have the right to copy. :)

    In another related case, Microsoft's office in Seattle is raided because I suspect they are using my algorithm to add two numbers together in Excel. I've added two numbers together since 1975, long before Excel was created.
    anonymous
  • Funny thing is, if the music industry wants to keep this from occurring, how about not causing the music buying public to fork over $20 US for a CD that has only one good song, the rest crap. Additionally, didn't the major labels admit to price collusion?
    anonymous
  • Utterly useless. I bet all the 10 year olds who use KaZaA are laughing right now at all the government monkeys trying to get the big stack of bananas floating in the sky.
    anonymous
  • Taking the law into their own hands?

    No one sees anything wrong with this? Seems dangerous to me. Anyone comes busting into my house and doesn't have a police badge, they're not going to get the benefit of the doubt. Shoot first, ask questions later.
    anonymous
  • What about people that download movies off the net, or burn video games from the net, that's just as worse, wake up!! Music artists have enough money as it is, even if there not even good enough to sing, they still have the cash, while HMV jacks up there cd prices to about 20$ in canada, some of us can't afford that, so yes, we download music off the net, you can blame the stupid music stores!
    anonymous
  • Now lets raid the firearm manufacturers who are plotting to distribute weapons so that criminals can rob and kill people. US courts have already shown that firearm manufactures are only responsible for a defect that causes a death.

    Is there a defect in Sharman? Sharman doesnt copyright infinge, People copyright infinge.
    anonymous
  • There has to be some used Oil platorm or inland out in internation waters that they could buy and turn in into Pirate Island. Where everything is free to share!
    anonymous