Kazaa executives face contempt of court hearing in Australia

January 2006

Record industry, internet

The IFPI has welcomed the move by the Federal Court of Australia to hear contempt of court charges against Kazaa, after its failure to follow the Court’s order to filter its system of copyrighted recordings. The Court today fixed 30th January 2006 for the hearing of contempt charges against the operators of the Kazaa system. Contempt proceedings have been brought against Sharman CEO Nikki Hemming, Altnet CEO Kevin Bermeister, Sharman Networks, LEF Interactive, Altnet Inc and Brilliant Digital Entertainment Inc. The contempt charges have been brought by the recording companies alleging that the operators have failed to comply with Court orders.  A finding of contempt of court could lead to imprisonment and confiscation of corporate assets.  IFPI Chairman and CEO John Kennedy said: “After having said they would implement filters, they have done nothing to prevent the continued copyright infringements on the Kazaa system.  They have left the recording industry with no option but to pursue contempt proceedings against them.  In the meantime Kazaa should stop prevaricating and filter its system now as it has been ordered to do.” Justice Murray Wilcox set the date after hearing that the operators of Kazaa had not implemented music filters following the September 5th judgment which found them liable for copyright infringement. Instead of applying the music filters, the Kazaa operators posted a notice asking existing Australian users to stop using the system and moved to prevent new downloads of the software in Australia. Justice Wilcox today refused suggestions from the Sharman parties that he immediately disqualify himself from hearing the contempt charges. The court heard that both Hemming and Bermeister are out of Australia. In response to the judge’s inquiries it was confirmed that both are due back in the next two weeks and would be in Australia for the contempt hearing.


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