Kazaa on final countdown to filter deadline - recording industry calls for action
London, 5 December, 2005
The operators of the law-breaking music distributor Kazaa have until midnight tonight (5th December Australian EST) to begin implementing the first court-ordered filters to their music piracy system.
The Federal Court of Australia has, as an interim step, ordered Sharman Networks, one of Kazaa's operators, to modify its software to include a 3,000 word copyright filter which will be updated every two weeks.
The filter is a first, stop-gap move towards enforcing a landmark copyright ruling in September, which found Sharman Networks liable for authorising massive copyright infringement on the Kazaa system.
Implementing the key word filter is a condition of a stay on the copyright judgment which otherwise provides for the shutdown of Kazaa.
John Kennedy, Chairman and CEO of IFPI, said: "Three months ago the Court found Kazaa guilty of massive copyright infringement. Now the time has come for action. The music industry is watching closely to see that the court's order for the introduction of this filter is respected and implemented."
Stephen Peach, Chief Executive of the IFPI-affiliated Australian recording industry body ARIA, said, "It's now time for Sharman to match their words with action. They have told the public they have been "working towards compliance of the court" (sic). Now we will see how successful they have been.
"This simple stop-gap measure should mark the beginning of a process which will help protect the livelihoods of the thousands of artists whose work has been stolen and illegally traded on the Kazaa system."
In the interim phase of the filtering process, the court has ordered that all new versions of Kazaa software must block out 3,000 key words on a list provided by the Australian record companies. The list includes names of artists and sound recordings.
It will be compulsory for Sharman to update the list every two weeks to include new words provided by the record companies. In addition, Sharman has been ordered to confront Kazaa users with dialogue boxes demanding they upgrade to the filtered version of the software.
During the course of the copyright trial the Sharman parties stated that filtering mechanisms could not be made specific to Australian users. Under the orders the 3,000 key word filter will apply to all users from Tuesday.
In making the orders for the key word filter on November 24th Justice Wilcox said: "I can't help feeling that if you could wipe out the 3000 most popular tunes which would no doubt include the current pop favourites and you could update that, I think on a fortnightly basis, I think that is reasonable for a limited period. You are going to significantly affect the amount of damage that has occurred."
Background for journalists
Orders of Justice Wilcox made on 24th November 2005: