Sharman begins defense in Kazaa case

It's not our fault what users do, Sharman's lawyer says

Sharman Networks, the company behind the Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing software, began its defence in a Sydney courtroom on Tuesday against charges by members of the music industry that the company aids music piracy and copyright infringement.

Speaking on the second day of the case at the Australian Federal Court, Anthony Meagher, a lawyer representing Sharman Networks, said the key issue is whether the company authorises breaches of copyright by users of its software, according to a summary of the arguments issued by its public relations agency.

Meagher cited two previous cases — one in the UK House of Lords against Amstrad concerning double-deck tape recorders, and one in the US Supreme Court against Sony concerning video cassette recorders — that found manufacturers do not authorise breaches of copyright by users. Sharman Networks is in the same situation, he said in the summary.

Moreover, no more than 2% of Kazaa users are located in Australia with the vast majority of them in the US, where the distribution of Kazaa software is legal, according to the summary. The defence team aims to prove the testimony of experts that the owners and distributors of Kazaa have no control over users of the Kazaa software or their activity, it said.

The trial is expected to last about three weeks.

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