The Australian record industry's watchdog Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) seized documents and electronic records during raids today (Feb. 6) at the Sydney offices of file-swapping service

The Australian record industry's watchdog Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) seized documents and electronic records during raids today (Feb. 6) at the Sydney offices of file-swapping service KaZaA's parent company Sharman Networks and the homes of its CEO Nikki Hemming and IT director Philip Morley.

MIPI officials raided 12 premises during the day, including universities and Internet service providers in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. The officials were armed with a court-issued search order called the Anton Pillar order, which allows a copyright owner suspecting infringement to enter and search premises and examine documents.

About 60 lawyers, investigators and computer forensic experts were involved in the raids, the culmination of a six-month probe into KaZaA's operations in Australia, says Sydney-based MIPI general manager Michael Speck.

"We intend to stop the illegal use of music through the use of the KaZaA network," Speck tells Billboard.biz.

Also raided were the offices of Sydney-based digital rights management company Brilliant Digital Entertainment, which partly owns P2P network technology company Altnet, and the Sydney home of Altnet's managing director Keven Burmeister.

Judge Wilcox of Sydney's federal court dismissed applications by Burmeister, the University of Queensland and Monash University in Melbourne to have the search orders overturned.

A statement from Sharman Networks calls the action "an extraordinary waste of time, money and resources going over legal ground that has been well and truly covered in the U.S. and Dutch courts over the past 18 months."

MIPI will return to Sydney court on Tuesday (Feb. 10) to report the raid's findings to Judge Wilcox, who will then rule whether there is enough evidence for the body to sue KaZaA.

The IFPI welcomes the development. "We think the corner is turning in the development of a legitimate online music business worldwide," IFPI chairman/CEO Jay Berman says in a statement. "Actions against unauthorized music distribution in different countries, including this case in Australia in which mass infringement is alleged, are playing are a very important role in helping craft that change."