Sharman denied opportunity to appeal over civil search orders

Sharman Networks and Brilliant Digital Entertainment (BDE) have been denied application for leave to appeal the Anton Piller orders that facilitated raids on the companies' premises.Sharman and BDE -- along with affiliated companies -- were raided in February this year on suspicion of music copyright infringement relating to their management and distribution of the Kazaa software.

Sharman Networks and Brilliant Digital Entertainment (BDE) have been denied application for leave to appeal the Anton Piller orders that facilitated raids on the companies' premises.

Sharman and BDE -- along with affiliated companies -- were raided in February this year on suspicion of music copyright infringement relating to their management and distribution of the Kazaa software.

The Sharman parties argue that "substantial injustice" was caused by the Anton Piller orders, claiming that some material seized was irrelevant to the case and that an appeal is necessary to remove "the slur on the reputation" of the company.

In addition, BDE claimed the raids were a "very considerable invasion of privacy" which has caused them a "real economic loss" from the publicity surrounding the case.

However the full Court of Appeal ruled in favour of Universal Music Australia (and affiliated parties), with judges Black and Stone stating in their reasons for denial that "in our view these matters would not, either individually or cumulatively, occasion injustice to the applicants of such a character and to such a degree as to justify the grant of leave".

The judges added that the seized material is in the custody of a third party and as such was not "insecure or vulnerable in any way" and "while the present situation is undoubtedly inconvenient for the applicants for leave [Sharman and BDE], we do not see this as amounting to substantial injustice."

The chief executive officer of Sharman Networks, Nikki Hemming, said the company was disappointed with the decision. However, she added that it had "no bearing" on the copyright infringement case itself.

"We feel the granting of the Anton Piller order was legally wrong and that was our basis for bringing the matter before the court. We are now focused on winning the current case," said Hemming.

The next hearing is scheduled for 14 October to address any further motions concerning discovery, and to decide if any parties should be struck out from the case.