As expected, earlier this week a the Vastmanland district court in Sweden handed down the nation’s first decision on Internet file sharing. (more…)

You might recall that on 5 September of this year, Justice Wilcox handed down judgment in Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd v Sharman License Holdings Ltd, colloquially known as the Kazaa case. It’s all about whether Sharman and others authorised infringement of copyright occurring over the Kazaa network. Wilcox J held that they did. I commented on the case at the time.

Were you wondering what had happened in the case? Whether it was on appeal? What was being done about the orders, at the time, requiring Sharman to make adjustments to their technology with a view to reducing the level of infringement occurring via the Kazaa network?

Well, thanks to the wonders of the Federal Court’s eCourt facilities, we can find out. (more…)

The Svenska antipiratbyrÃ¥n, the Swedish Anti-Piracy Bureau (a lobby group working against and investigating cases of alleged copyright infringement), has sued an individual for sharing movies online using the DirectConnect file-sharing protocol. The court, which heard the case last week, is expected to deliver a verdict on 25 October. (more…)

APC Magazine has a very interesting ‘feature’ today on MIPI, the friendly-sounding but definitely serious enforcement arm of the Australian Record Industry (doesn’t it just make you think it’s the name of a Muppet figure from Sesame Street? Hi, I’m Mippy. Who wants to play a spelling game with me? Can you spell P-I-R-A-C-Y?)

Anyway, name jokes aside, this is a serious report. It deals with the identity of MIPI, copyright enforcement strategy in Australia and likely shifts in that strategy (will we have more criminal enforcement?), and the settlement of the Australian BitTorrent case. (more…)

Harvey Danger — whom you may remember from “Flagpole Sitta” — has released their new album for free over the web, and also via bittorrent. Their stated reason:

In preparing to self-release our new album, we thought long and hard about how best to use the internet. Given our unusual history, and a long-held sense that the practice now being demonized by the music biz as “illegal” file sharing can be a friend to the independent musician, we have decided to embrace the indisputable fact of music in the 21st century, put our money where our mouth is, and make our record, Little By Little…, available for download via Bittorrent, and at our website. We’re not streaming, or offering 30-second song samples, or annoying you with digital rights management software; we’re putting up the whole record, for free, forever. Full stop. Please help yourself; if you like it, please share with friends.

Good luck to them; I hope it works. If I like it, I’ll buy the album: Harvey Danger – Little by Little

Some more links to peoples’ comments on Kazaa:

  1. a couple of articles are available on Online Opinion: including this piece by Stephen Peach (ARIA), and this piece by Stephen Abood.
  2. Michael Madison’s views (University of Pittsburgh) – interesting comments comparing US and Australian approaches to legal development.
  3. Phil Tripp’s views are here (Tripp is a music business type person, and runs the website themusic.com.au, a news/commentary portal for music biz)
  4. Brendan Scott’s views here (pdf)
  5. Ed Felten’s comments on Kazaa are here.
  6. Kathy Bowrey’s Comments (and comments on many other digital copyright and ‘piracy’ issues) here.
  7. David Starkoff (recommended – don’t agree with him on everything but it’s an interesting view);
  8. IPKat (just saying it seems a sensible result. Of course, that’s not the issue – the issue is the reasoning, which is problematic for reasons I’ve outlined and Matt Rimmer has also underlined in his comment on this and Geists’ blog, quoted in Starkoff).


The decision in the Australian KaZaA case (Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd v Sharman License Holdings Ltd [2005] FCA 1242) has been published.

The New York Times has also published an article on the decision, and gives a useful history of KaZaA since its launch in 2001.

It is clear that this decision will have implications beyond Australia’s shores. For some detailed comments on the decision, see Kim’s post.

I’ve already put up fairly extensive (albeit initial) comments on Kazaa below. I’m not, of course, the only one to comment on the case: here are some more links:

It’s not much – but I’ve not yet found all that much apart from news stories.

Let me know if you find more commentary that I should link to here. Also, if there is anyone out there with some comments they want to post, feel free to put them in the comments box or, if that’s just too annoying, email them to me so I can post them direct to the blog.

So today, senior Australian Federal Court judge Justice Wilcox handed down his decision in the trial of the Kazaa case. In this case, over 30 applicants – in essence, copyright owners – sued the companies and individuals involved in providing Kazaa software. They alleged all kinds of things, but the essence of the case is this question:

By providing P2P file-sharing software (and through all their other activities), did the respondents (Sharman companies, Altnet companies, and assorted individual directors) authorise the undoubted copyright infringement done by the users of the software?

The result?

  • The Sharman companies did authorise infringement. They did not engage in other forms of infringement/illegality alleged by the copyright owners (including direct infringement, conspiracy, misleading conduct under the TPA or unconscionable conduct);
  • The directors/head honchos in Sharman are liable for authorising infringement too;
  • Some of the other parties avoided liability.

The Australian are calling it ‘The Day the Music Died’ (a bit odd, given that the market has, of course, moved on from the Kazaa system). Below are some initial thoughts.


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