Australia's Music Industry Piracy Investigation on Jan. 14 raided the Sydney office of Internet service provider ComCen to gather evidence on the song-sharing service MP3s4free.net.

SYDNEY -- Australia's Music Industry Piracy Investigation on Jan. 14 raided the Sydney office of Internet service provider ComCen to gather evidence on the song-sharing service MP3s4free.net.

Six Australian labels -- Universal Music Australia, Sony Music Entertainment Australia, Warner Music Australia, BMG Australia and Festival Mushroom Records -- and 25 international companies last year launched an A$500 million ($375 million) lawsuit against the operator of MP3s4free.net, Stephen Cooper, and its two ISPs, including ComCen parent company E-Talk Communications.

MIPI computer forensic expert Nigel Carson attempted to enter ComCen's premises on Jan. 13, but was allegedly refused entry by an employee. The anti-piracy unit successfully approached the Federal Court on Jan. 14 for permission to search the ISP's computers and servers.

MIPI says it was seeking emails between Cooper and ComCen employee Christos Andrew Takoushis. Previously in discovery, MIPI had access to only three emails between the pair.

In its lawsuit, the labels claimed that mp3s4free.net had 190 million hits in 12 months. ComCen maintains it only provided services to the Web site and did not directly host the unauthorized files. In his defense, Cooper argued that he did not host the files but offered links to other music sites.

Cooper, a former policeman, closed the site after MIPI first raided his Brisbane premises in October 2003.

The next hearing of the case is scheduled for Feb. 7.