Internet, Record Labels

Three of Australia’s largest Universities today lost the battle to block the music industry from gaining access to their computer infrastructure, with the Federal Court ordering them to allow the industry’s experts to gain access. Federal Court Justice Brian Tamberlin ordered the Universities of Sydney, Melbourne and Tasmania to allow the music industry access to the infrastructure to seek information regarding alleged breaches of copyright, such as file-sharing, by University staff or students. The music industry had been seeking access to information on the Universities’ network it claims contains evidence of copyright infringement, but the Universities refused, citing privacy concerns. Justice Tamberlin previously stated he would order the Universities to hand over the relevant information but had allowed time for both parties to provide arguments appealing the decision.

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COMMENT : This Australian case follows on from the Recording Industry Association of America’s successful action against Verizon. There, the US Courts granted the RIAA access to the cable provider’s subscriber details so that the RIAA could identify those who infringed copyright on the internet. In both cases the right to privacy was held to be inferior to the right of copyright owners to seek information about and redress against those who infringe their copyright.