MIPI hails 'significant judgment.'

The Australian Federal Court yesterday (Dec. 22) rejected a motion by former Website operator Stephen Cooper that all declarations of copyright and injunctions against him be dropped.

Justice Brian Tamberlin upheld his July decision on mp3s4free.net and said that Cooper and his associates could not operate the Website or any other which could infringe labels' copyright.

"This case has been hard fought on the issue of authorization of copyright infringement... and the applicants have succeeded on the issue of authorization," Tamberlin noted. "The evidence indicates, and the findings are, that a massive scale of infringement of copyright has occurred and has been carried systematically over a substantial period of time by the respondents."

In a decision that was a first for Australia, the Federal Court on July 15 found mp3s4free.net guilty of infringing the copyright of number of Australian record companies.

Lawyers for Stephen Cooper, a one-time policeman who ran the Brisbane-based Website, argued that he was not guilty of copyright infringement because his site had not hosted the material.

The Music Industry Piracy Investigation unit, which began investigating Cooper in November 2002, claimed the site drew seven million visitors a year.

In a media statement, MIPI commented yesterday, "This is a significant judgment because it confirms the courts will act against Internet infringers and there will be serious consequences for those who chose to infringe music copyright."