Record Execs Go Down Under to Battle Kazaa

Opening arguments in a case which could determine the future of peer-to-peer file sharing networks got underway in Sydney on Monday. The lawsuit is the music industry's latest attempt to make P2P networks legally responsible for the actions of their users.

A court ruling in the U.S. in August sided with P2P networks claiming that they could be used for legitimate purposes. Record companies then turned to the Australian court system to take on Kazaa, as part of the company is run from that country.

In opening statements to the court, lawyers for five record labels claimed that the actions of P2P networks are hurting the companies financially. They alleged that Kazaa's parent company, Sharman Networks, had previously admitted that as many as 100 million of its users were trading illegal copies of songs by the record labels' artists.

The lawyers also claimed that after talks between Kazaa and the major record labels failed, the company became even more intent on spreading its software, creating a "copyright piracy engine."

No one from Sharman Networks appeared in court Monday, although the company has vowed to fight the case.

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