Kazaa Trial Reveals Web-User Tracking Methods

Record labels presented their first witness today (Dec. 1) in their Australian lawsuit over peer-to-peer software Kazaa.

Record labels presented their first witness today (Dec. 1) in their Australian lawsuit over peer-to-peer software Kazaa.

Focusing on ways to determine the identity of file sharers, computer forensics investigator Nigel Carson explained that it was possible to locate the physical computers of Kazaa users by tracing their Internet Protocol (IP) addresses.

Although IP addresses usually change when a dial-up connection is involved, users with broadband and cable Internet connections use only one IP address most of the time, he said. Even when the addresses change, the user can be tracked down to the Internet service provider where personal information can be collected with a court's permission.

Carson said he is not familiar enough with the Kazaa software to be able to testify whether it has remote trigger capability -- the ability to terminate a user's connection -- but said that type of technology exists.

Most of the evidence from the labels' 48 expected witnesses will be in the form of sworn affidavits and other documents; live testimony will be limited to cross-examination on selected topics, according to sources.

In one affidavit presented to the federal court in Sydney, the labels' barrister, Tony Bannon, claimed that the evidence inferred that Altnet CEO Kevin Bermeister controls Sharman -- and thus Kazaa -- rather than Sharman CEO Nicola Hemming.

Much of this third day of the trial involved legal arguments over the admissibility of certain statements in the affidavits. Justice Murray Wilcox declared as inadmissible certain statements, which were characterized by a courtroom observer as "significant passages."

Thirty labels sued Sydney-based Sharman and Hemming; Sharman partner Altnet and 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 Kristyn Maslog-Levis, ZDNet Australia

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