The Australian music industry's record A$500 million ($375 million) lawsuit against the operator of song-sharing service MP3s4free.net and its two Internet service providers has been postponed until F

The Australian music industry's record A$500 million ($375 million) lawsuit against the operator of song-sharing service MP3s4free.net and its two Internet service providers has been postponed until February 2005.

The weeklong case at the Federal Court in Sydney was expected to have finished today (Oct. 29).

The case was brought against Stephen Cooper, a retired Australian policeman who operated MP3s4free.net. A court order closed the site down last October.

Music Industry Piracy Investigation in October conducted a raid on Cooper's Brisbane home and the offices of ISPs E-Talk and Com-Cen.

During this week's hearing, Cooper's lawyer, Tony Morris QC, accused MIPI GM Michael Speck of initiating the case as a publicity stunt and using media interviews "to [persuade] the press to the point of view of the people that pay your salary."

Speck replied, "We only gave media interviews in response to Mr. Cooper's interviews."

Cooper will not be giving evidence during the case. His defense hinges on whether "hyperlinking," or providing a link to another site where music can be downloaded, can be seen as copyright infringement.

Earlier this week, the six Australian major labels and 25 international companies tendered evidence that the site received 191 million hits and requests for 136 million music files between November 2002 and October 2003.