Anti-piracy GM departs as piracy cases escalate.

Michael Kerin exited last Friday as GM of Australia's Music Industry Piracy Investigation unit after a five-month tenure.

Kerin has joined the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft as director of operations, where he succeeds Neil Gane. Gane took an unspecified role in the film industry in Singapore.

Kerin has submitted a review of MIPI's operations, which continues to be discussed by the board of the Australian Record Industry Assn., which funds MIPI.

In it, he suggested that ARIA should capitalize on MIPI's recent court successes -- including those against Sharman Networks' Kazaa software and Internet services provider Swiftel's use of the BitTorrent application. ARIA should educate the public through talks at schools and colleges and by speaking at seminars, he said in the document.

Published reports here suggest that ARIA is concerned about the escalating costs of music piracy cases. Its case against Sharman cost A$10 million ($7.6 million) although the judge ordered Sharman to foot 90% of the labels' court costs.

Both Kerin and ARIA's chief executive Stephen Peach declined to comment.