Kazaa Parent Told To Reveal Owner

An Australian Federal Court judge has ordered Sharman Networks reveal the anonymous figures controlling the company.

An Australian Federal Court judge has ordered Sharman Networks to reveal the anonymous figures controlling the company.

Sharman, the parent company of the peer-to-peer Kazaa software, is facing copyright infringement charges brought by five Australian record companies.

The labels' attorney, John Nicholas, explained to the Sydney court on Tuesday (July 27) that previous respondents to the case have been Sharman Licence Holdings and Sharman Networks. However, correspondence last week over the process of discovery revealed another company, Worldwide Nominees, which has been named as the sole director of Sharman Networks.

Worldwide Nominees is registered in Port Vila, capital of the Pacific island of Vanuatu. Its directors are Port Vila solicitor Geoffrey R. Gee and a company called Regent Ltd. The names of its shareholders are not available. By Vanuatu law, it is a criminal offence to make inquiries to the ownership of any company based there.

The labels asked that Sharman provide details of the "ownership and control structure of the corporate respondents, the financial and managerial aspects of the various relationships and the historical background to these arrangements."

Justice Wilcox commented that Nikki Hemming, Sydney-based CEO of Sharman, "seems to be a key player" in the activities.

The court also rejected Sharman's claim that any MP3 files seized were irrelevant to the case because these should not be defined as sound recordings.

The record companies have to offer 100 examples of record contracts to give the court a better definition of the meaning of copyright.

Sharman and the labels have been told not to discuss the case in public.

A hearing is scheduled for Nov. 29.

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