January 28, 2003

Kazaa Sues Movie, Recording Industries

Jan 28, 12:20 PM (ET)

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The owners of the Kazaa file-sharing network are suing the movie and recording industries, claiming that they don't understand the digital age and are monopolizing entertainment.

Sharman Networks Ltd. filed its counterclaim Monday in response to a copyright-infringement lawsuit brought by several recording labels and movie studios. That lawsuit accuses Sharman of providing free access to copyright music and films to millions of Internet users in the United States.

The latest filing came two weeks after U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson dismissed Sharman's claim that it could not be sued in the United States because it is based in Australia and incorporated in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu.

Wilson had found Sharman subject to U.S. copyright laws because it has substantial usage by Californians and its actions are alleged to contribute to commercial piracy within the United States.

Sharman's counterclaim alleges copyright misuse, monopolization, and deceptive acts and practices.

"In seeking to simultaneously stop illegal copying and to maintain their dominant position in the distribution of musical and movie content, the industry plaintiffs have obscenely overreached," Sharman said.

It seeks a jury trial, damages, attorney fees and a permanent injunction against the entertainment industry so that it can't "enforce any of their United States copyrights against any person or entity."

Sharman said the entertainment companies are behind the times and don't realize that consumers need not buy CDs, DVDs or videotapes to enjoy music or films.

Sharman also claimed that movie studios "dominate and, when they act in concert, have monopoly power" for the aftermarket distribution of first-run major motion pictures. Likewise, the company said, recording labels "when they act in concert, have monopoly power in the distribution of recorded music."

Movie studios involved in the lawsuit include Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., Columbia Pictures Industries Inc., Disney Enterprises Inc., Paramount Pictures Corp. The recording labels are BMG, EMI, Sony, Universal and Warner.

In a statement, the Recording Industry Association of America called Sharman's arguments "laughable."

"Sharman's claims are akin to the thief who plunders Fort Knox and then claims she's not responsible because Fort Knox declined to buy her second-rate security system," the RIAA said.

The case is one of the largest in the recent online copyright wars testing the international reach of U.S. courts.

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On the Net:

Kazaa: http://www.kazaa.com

Movie industry: http://www.mpaa.org


Article Found on Excite.com

Posted by at January 28, 2003 08:23 PM | TrackBack



Comments

So RIAA and MPAA are suing a company in U.S. Courts based on U.S. Laws and the company is in Australia??? Anyone else see the problem with this? Are the bloody french right in their constant claims the U.S. is always putting our laws on others and our nose where it does not belong?? I dare say with this prime example who's to argue?

Posted by: Muddy at January 28, 2003 08:26 PM

What I don't understand is why these companies based in other countries without so much as an office in the US, even bother to answer to these suits.

Posted by: skywalker at January 28, 2003 10:20 PM

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/11.02/kazaa.html

If you are interested in Kazaa, READ THIS PIECE.

It's not as simple as the US against a foreign entity. That entity took steps to intentionally avoid prosecution in US courts. It is masterful what they did to try to avoid getting slapped with a suit.

Posted by: Baker at February 7, 2003 02:30 PM
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