Overriding severe objections from Sharman Networks' lawyer, Australian federal court Justice Murray Wilcox allowed an anti-piracy services provider based in New York to submit evidence today (Dec. 2)
Overriding severe objections from Sharman Networks' lawyer, Australian federal court Justice Murray Wilcox allowed an anti-piracy services provider based in New York to submit evidence today (Dec. 2) at the civil trial brought by 30 record labels against owners of the peer-to-peer software Kazaa.
Tom Mizzone, VP of data services at MediaSentry, told the court that his company was able to identify Australian Kazaa users by tracking their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.
MediaSentry was also able to detect the copyrighted music files made available for download in the system's shared folders simply by performing tasks that any ordinary user of the Kazaa system can perform, he said. In addition, users could communicate with other users through instant messaging.
Mizzone's testimony is critical to the record labels' claim that Sharman Networks can simultaneously identify users who are downloading copyright-infringing materials and communicate with them.
The Kazaa-affiliated defendants have maintained that their attempts to use filters on the system have failed in the past and they are not able to control how file-sharers use the software.
Also this morning, Justice Wilcox rejected 12 out of 14 affidavits offered by the Kazaa parties, saying they were not relevant to the copyright issues. Most of the evidence from witnesses during the trial will be in the form of sworn affidavits and other documents; live testimony will be limited to cross-examination on selected topics.
In rejecting the affidavits, which detail how Kazaa is used to exchange authorized material, Justice Wilcox said the trial should not be an ideological debate over the capability of P2P networks -- it should focus on whether the respondents infringed, or authorized infringement of, the labels' copyrighted music.
Three record company executives testified about the labels' attempts to discourage music piracy by deploying "decoy files" or "spoofing activity" on the Internet.
Decoy files are music files that look like playable materials but only play 30-second loops of the song's chorus. Spoofing is a method where a P2P network is flooded with fake files of a certain title. If a user tries to download the title, he receives a "spoof" that has the same title as the requested song or video, but actually contains a message warning the user that he has attempted to violate copyright law.
Thirty labels sued Sydney-based Sharman and CEO Nicola Hemming, Sharman partner Altnet and CEO Kevin Bermeister, two technologists and various affiliated companies for copyright infringement, misrepresentation and unlawful practices. They want to prevent further unlawful file sharing and recover damages for past infringements.
Additional reporting by Susan Butler, Billboard