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Evidence of piracy allegedly destroyed

Evidence at the centre of a court battle between major music labels and Australian universities has allegedly been destroyed

The music industry is urgently seeking a court hearing after being advised by lawyers for Australian universities involved in legal action over alleged online music piracy that evidence subject to a court order has been destroyed, a piracy investigator said.

The managing director of Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI), Michael Speck, told ZDNet Australia the industry was seeking an urgent Federal Court hearing in order to cover issues such as precisely what evidence was destroyed and under what circumstances.

"We are preparing to commence proceedings to ascertain in fact what evidence has been destroyed," he said.

The hearing is likely to be held on Monday. Speck said the universities had indicated they would provide an explanation for the deletion.

Speck said the issue confirmed the industry's concerns over what would happen to evidence if it did not commence proceedings to secure its retrieval from the universities involved.

The music industry is trying to access copies of universities' computer records to ascertain whether staff or students have been involved in online copyright breaches.

Sony, EMI, and Universal began the action against the University of Melbourne, Sydney University and the University of Tasmania to obtain information believed to provide evidence of copyright infringement. The universities had initially refused to hand over the information, claiming it included private files that were not related to the case.

MIPI is employed by the music industry to investigate music piracy, which it claims is a significant drain on its revenues.


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