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Subject: [IP] Australian court rules against Kazaa

  • From: David Farber <>
  • To: Ip Ip <>
  • Date: Mon, 05 Sep 2005 19:42:14 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston <>
Date: September 5, 2005 5:43:05 PM EDT
To: Dave Farber <>
Cc: 'Brad Templeton' <>
Subject: Australian court rules against Kazaa

In Australia innovators must ask permission first.

I was going to write a longer set of comments but I see the basic issue as one in which we have a legal system that is applying its economic old theories. The Australian court is, of course, not controlled by the US Constitution but I don&#x2019;t see the US being especially interested in what I read as the intent of encouraging learning and innovation by giving authors limited patent and copyright protection so as to encourage them to share their ideas with others.

I expect the EFF readers on this list to comment on the &#x201C;Blizzard/ BnetD&#x201D; decision that Hiawatha Bray reported as ruling against reverse engineering (which I translate as learning).

The Business Week versions of the Kazaa story is http:// campaign_id=apn_home_down&chan=db

It contains the comment &#x201C;[Judge] Wilcox stressed, however, that he was anxious not to damage legitimate file-swapping with his ruling. He said Kazaa needs to be changed &quot;without unnecessarily intruding on others' freedom of speech and communication.&quot; I presume that he also believes that only good electrons should be allowed to pass through the Internet. Will Skype be modified to assure you can&#x2019;t sing Happy Birthday using their software? Even though the decision is compared with Grokster this seems to go further

When I was a student Harvard Law was seeking those with engineering backgrounds to become lawyers. They didn&#x2019;t seem to be succeeding and I can understand how difficult it is to go into a world ruled by precedent rather than reality. OK, maybe I&#x2019;m not fair and perhaps the engineer/lawyers on the list will have their own opinions.

At least the Tellywood has a sense of humor as they make films about how evil their own industry is or maybe the message to others is &#x201C;fuck &#x2018;em if they can&#x2019;t take a joke&#x201D;.

Australian court rules against Kazaa kazaa_ruling20050905.html

Australian court rules against Kazaa

Last Updated Mon, 05 Sep 2005 12:19:01 EDT

CBC News

An Australian court ruled Monday that file-swapping service Kazaa breaches copyright. The owners have been given two months to modify their web site to prevent piracy by their users.

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Australian record industry spokesman Michael Speck, centre, addresses the media outside the New South Wales Supreme Court Monday, Sept. 5, 2005 after the court ruled that popular file-swapping network Kazaa was in breach of copyright inAustralia. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

The ruling only covers Australia, but the record industry hailed it a victory that would be felt around the globe.

&quot;The court has ruled the current Kazaa system illegal. If they want to continue, they are going to have to stop the trade in illegal music on that system,&quot; record industry spokesman Michael Speck said outside the court.

Federal Court Judge Murray Wilcox found six of the 10 defendants, including owners Sharman Networks Ltd., infringed copyright and ordered them to pay 90 per cent of the record industry's costs in the case. The final total could be massive.

&quot;These people have crowed for years about the downloads -- 270 million downloads of somebody else's work each month,&quot; said Speck. &quot;We will ask the court when it comes to damages to reflect the value of the music these people ripped off.&quot;

In a statement, Sharman said that &quot;we will appeal those parts of the decision where we were not successful and are confident of a win on appeal.&quot;

What was clear is that the judgment does not attempt to make file- swapping illegal. Wilcox said that if Kazaa is to continue its operations its owners have to ensure that new versions of the software filters unlicensed copyright material. How that can be managed was unclear.

The case is the latest in a long line of courtroom showdowns between peer-to-peer networks and copyright holders, such as record companies.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Hollywood and the music industry can file piracy lawsuits against technology companies caught encouraging customers to steal music and movies over the internet.

Bob Frankston

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