Lawyers representing Sharman Networks today informed the Federal Court of Australia they intended to challenge the validity of the court orders which resulted in raids on several premises last week.
Describing 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 -- as "the legal equivalent of a nuclear bomb", lawyers representing Sharman Networks allege that the record labels did not disclose all relevant matters to the judge when applying for the orders.
"We're outraged that this process has been necessary, full disclosure would have prevented this entirely," David Casselman, representing Sharman Networks in its ongoing US court case, told ZDNet Australia . "We've asked to set aside the Anton Pillar order and to stay the litigation until the US litigation is resolved, at which stage we suspect there'll be no need for this litigation."
Sharman Networks claimed Justice Murray Wilcox -- who granted the Anton Pillar orders -- was not informed Sharman Networks had agreed to submit to depositions for the US court case MGM v Grokster et al -- which involves actions by movie studios and record companies against peer-to-peer services over alleged copyright-infringing activities -- and was cooperating fully in the case.
Michael Speck, managing director of Music Industry Piracy Investigations, which obtained the Anton Pillar orders, was unconcerned. "I'm not surprised by that strategy," Speck told ZDNet Australia . "We're comfortable with the action we've taken and confident of a successful outcome."
The arguments will be heard before Justice Wilcox on February 20. The case has been bought by Universal Music Australia, Festival Records, EMI Music Australia, Sony Music Australia, Warner Music Australia and BMG Australia against Sharman License Holdings, Sharman Networks, LEF Interactive, Sharman CEO Nicola Hemming and Sharman director of technology Phil Morle.
In addition to the respondents, Anton Pillar orders were also served on Brilliant Digital Entertainment and its owner Kevin Burmeister, the University of Queensland, Monash University and the University of New South Wales, Telstra, Akamai Technologies, NTT Australia and The Internet Group in order to obtain evidence to use against Sharman Networks.
On Friday the universities challenged the Anton Pillar orders and the parties agreed the information obtained under the order would be kept confidential until a further order was made.
A submission to the court was also made by one of the independent solicitors attending the execution of the Anton Pillar order relating to "extraordinary events" at one of the locations. It is believed the submission related to an alleged assault on the solicitors during the execution of the Anton Pillar order at the offices of Brilliant Digital Entertainment.
The case has attracted intense international attention, a fact which was not lost on the multitude of people packed into the courtroom. In addition to local press and lawyers representing all parties, Sharman Networks had flown in their US counsel for the event and the Los Angeles Times deemed the occasion important enough to send a staff reporter.