Thursday, March 23, 2006

The Progress of Kazaa

Universal Music -v- Sharman Networks, the Kazaa case, had another judgment handed down yesterday, link here. Basically, the question dealt with was whether Universal could begin contempt of court proceedings against some of the respondents (there are nine). We need to go back a step first.

At trial, orders were made against Sharman. In particular, the Respondents were restrained from authorising infringement of copyright by Kazaa users without getting a licence from the copyright owner. Even if they are eventually successful at the appellate level, the orders made bind them in the meantime. At the time, the orders seemed funny, because they also included monitoring by the Court. rather than just an Order shutting down the network full stop. I commented on that, although I can't find the post on my blog anymore.

Now, if the Order is not complied with, Sharman will be in contempt. The question yesterday was whether such proceedings could begin. Branson J in the leading judgment held that yes, such proceedings could be brought.

The argument against was that the Order was too ambiguous to be legally valid. Basically, the Court said 'Not a chance, people', and found that the Order was perfectly valid. This means that hearings will take place as to the FACTS in issue, whether in fact Sharman is in contempt of court.

This will be a very intereting little side story in the entire Kazaa saga.

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