Unsurprisingly, Sharman Networks has lost their case in Australia. The Australian Federal Court has finally ruled in the case Universal Music Australia v Sharman License Holdings [2005] FCA 1242. The Court has ruled that Sharman Networks “authorised” copyright infringement. From what I understood from the ruling, “authorising” is the equivalent of the UK’s “providing means for making infringing copies” (s 24(2) CDPA), and it is the equivalent of secondary infringement in American law.

The music industry did not get all they asked for, but they got enough. Sharman networks will be liable for the infringement and has had an injunction to stop the infringement. They will also have to include copyright filters in their software. To me, this may very well spell the end of KaZaa, but it will all depend on the amount of the liability.

The thing is that this will not affect P2P networks whatsoever. KaZaa could disappear tomorrow and people will still be using the software, because the network exists independent of Sharman. There are old clients out there, and the software will operate the same without those, but then there are loads of KaZaa clones (such as KaZaa Lite) that also connect to FastTrack, their P2P protocol. And even if FastTrack was to disappear (unlikely), there are many other surviving protocols out there, such as Gnutella, eDonkey 2000, LUSerNet and Kademila protocols.

Categories: CasesP2P


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