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Record industry raids Kazaa offices

The Australian record industry raided the offices of music internet group Kazaa as part of legal action aimed at shutting down the popular site. Kazaa is the world's largest file sharing network, and is owned and distributed in Australia by Sharman Networks. The Federal Court on Thursday granted the music industry's anti-piracy unit, Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI), permission to raid 12 premises in three different states.

MIPI general manager Michael Speck claimed Kazaa had breached the Copyright Act and his company would launch its civil case against the internet group in the Federal Court next Tuesday. "Yesterday ... the Federal Court of Australia made orders permitting the record companies to obtain documents and other electronic records about Kazaa's activities in Australia," Mr Speck said in a statement on Friday.

Sharman Networks said the company had been served with a "search and seize order" made by the court. The company's Sydney offices and the homes of two of its executives were raided on Friday morning, the company said. "Sharman will be applying to have these orders set aside, but in the meantime is complying with the terms of the order," it said in a statement.

The company said the action was an "extraordinary waste of time, money and resources" which went over legal ground already covered in the US and Dutch courts over the past 18 months. In December, AFP reported the Dutch Supreme Court had ruled Kazaa was a legal operation not in violation of copyright. "This is a knee-jerk reaction by the recording industry to discredit Sharman Networks and the Kazaa software, following a number of recent court decisions around the world that have ruled against the entertainment industry's agenda to stamp out peer-to-peer technology," the company said.

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News source: The Age

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