Sharman Networks has blocked access to its Kazaa peer-to-peer software in Australia. The shutdown took place late Monday (Dec. 5) in Australia to comply with orders from the country's Federal Court.

Sharman Networks has blocked access to its Kazaa peer-to-peer software in Australia. The shutdown took place late Monday (Dec. 5) in Australia to comply with orders from the country's Federal Court.

However, the Australian Recording Industry Assn. insists that Sharman breached previous court instructions for the application of keyword filtering software to its system. As previously reported, the Sydney court on Nov. 24 said it would be compulsory for Sharman to update the list of 3,000 key words every two weeks to include new words provided by the record companies.

ARIA executives say they will argue in court this week that Sharman did not comply with the Dec. 5 deadline, and that Kazaa be closed down immediately.

"Sharman has thumbed its nose at the court," said ARIA CEO Stephen Peach. "They were given a chance to do the right thing and they've ruined it. They cannot be trusted to even take the simplest steps towards complying with the court's orders and again have shown they intend to do nothing about the illegal activities occurring on a massive scale on their system."

Sharman argues that it has fulfilled the court order by denying access to Australian users.

From today (Dec. 6), Australians accessing the file-sharing network are advised by a notice, "The download of the Kazaa Media Desktop by users in Australia is not permitted."

ARIA argues that access is not denied to those who have already downloaded the software. Sharman says it has posted a message on its Web site warning those who had already downloaded the software not to use it.

A statement from Sharman said, "The Australian record companies have achieved their aim to stop the further distribution of Kazaa in Australia until an appeal court decides (in February 2006) whether these orders should stand or not."

Sharman says it is confident it will win its appeal, and is continuing to develop its Audible Magic filtering solution to block illegal behavior on its network. In September, the Court found Sharman and five others liable for authorizing Kazaa users to infringe the copyrighted recordings of 30 record labels. It was given two months to change its search technology to prevent the sharing of pirated music. This was extended to Dec. 5.

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