Australian court rules Kazaa users breach copyright

An Australian court ruled on Monday that users of Kazaa, a popular Internet music file-swapping system, breached music copyright and ordered its owners to modify the software.

"The respondents authorised users to infringe the applicants' copyright in their sound recordings," Federal Court Judge Murray Wilcox said in his ruling.

Australia's major record companies sued Kazaa's Australian owners and developers, Sharman Networks, claiming Kazaa had cost them millions of dollars in lost sales.

The music industry told the court that Sharman Network licensed users to access a network it knew was being used for piracy and hence it was authorising people to infringe copyright.

Sharman Networks defended the use of the Internet to download music tracks, but said it could not control the actions of estimated 100 million world-wide users.

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