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Kazaa Owners Risk Jail 221

An anonymous reader writes "There's been a twist in the Sharman Networks vs record labels case in Australia. Lawyers for the music industry now claim that Sharman's attempt to block Australian IP addresses from accessing the Kazaa website doesn't comply with a court order. As such, they want Kazaa masterminds Nikki Hemming and Kevin Bermeister to go to jail term. The saga began in Feb 2004 and ZDNet Australia has a complete timeline."
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Kazaa Owners Risk Jail

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  • They should have made Kazaa ownership much like their softwares ideology, P2P.

    I'd like to see Australia try to jail that many people.
    • by ziggamon2.0 ( 796017 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @12:38PM (#14264956) Homepage
      Well, consider that once, their entire population was imprisoned...
    • Weren't European criminals exiled to Australia a few centuries ago? I seem to remember me something about this being mentioned in The Simpsons.
    • by JonN ( 895435 )
      Um, for them it shouldn't be that hard. "Britain decided to use its new outpost as a penal colony; the First Fleet of 11 ships carried about 1500 people--half of them convicts. The fleet arrived in Sydney Harbour on 26 January 1788, and it is on this day every year that Australia Day is celebrated." Right from the Australian Foreign Affairs website []
    • by ZorinLynx ( 31751 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @01:04PM (#14265186) Homepage
      I think jailing people for such pathetic white collar crimes is ridiculous.

      They're not a danger to society; if you want to punish them, take away their computers or something. But jail? Come on!

      Jail should be reserved for murderers, rapists and other violent types. Not people who write software for trading music on the Internet.

      Why are governments so damn messed up?

      • by Ucklak ( 755284 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @01:17PM (#14265306)
        That's a damn good point.
        I don't want murderers or rapists on my streets, at all. Get em out.

        But jailing someone for stealing a digital 'copy' where it doesn't hurt anyone is ridiculous.
        So the content creator maybe lost out on a 'lost' sale. Let that content provider SUE for monetary damages if need be.

        Now if the person makes digital copies for profit, then I'm for jail time because they hurt commerce and busines in general.
      • I agree with the other poster. Your idea is quite naive as it ignores all of the criminals who may have committed non-violent crime.

        So if I break into my local Best Buy at 3am, steal all of their iPods and plasma tv's and sell them on eBay and if convicted I get... house arrest?
        • You should have to pay them back at full retail for the amount of the iPods and plasmas you took. Plus a kicker to the state for having to round your loopy butt up.
          • And if you don't get caught you're off scott-free. The worst that can happen is you lose what you stole and have to pay a little kicker. Let's see what happens to theft rates when fear of jail time is removed.
        • by jasen666 ( 88727 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @02:05PM (#14265656)
          Sure, that's what the ankle bracelets are for. Program the thing sound the alarm if he goes anywhere other than his home or his work.
          This way, our legal system isn't spending my tax money housing and feeding his ass, and he's forced to work to pay off what was stolen.
          Now, if he had used a gun and robbed the place, he's a menace and should be locked up.
          But most white collar criminals are generally just idiots that don't want to hurt people, just wanted to steal something. Don't lock them up and make us pay for them. Put their asses to work and make them pay it back.
          • Don't lock them up and make us pay for them. Put their asses to work and make them pay it back.

            Their asses are being put to work in jail. They just don't make any money during that exchange.

            • > Their asses are being put to work in jail. They just don't make any money during that exchange.

              Nor do they make enough money for the prison to cover the costs of their own incarceration, though. Of course, if they weren't there, they could get on welfare, effectively "stealing" from everyone instead of one person. *

              * no, I am not implying that welfare=theft, nor that the majority of those on welfare are "stealing" or even undeserving of the help.
      • They're not a danger to society;

        I'm reasonably sure the powers that be at Enron, Worldcomm, et al possed a danger to society; certainly to their employees, sharholders and ultimately custormers. Catagorizing 'white collar' crime as 'not a danger' is rather naive. I would much rather see some one like Ken Lay in Federal Pound Me in the Ass Prision than some idiot who FedExed his buddy LSD.

        That said, contempt of court is applicable to all colors of collars. The guys over at Kazzaa were order by a court

      • Jail should be reserved for murderers, rapists and other violent types.

        Not to mention those dangerous pot smokers. Get em off the streets I say!
    • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @01:26PM (#14265385) Homepage
      Since we'll have GPS in our phones, accessible at will by spooks and cops; cameras on every corner, every highway; DNA catalogued against our will; health care taken away at the whim of unknown lords, drug testing at will by our employers; unacceptable speech not permitted on private property (almost anywhere you shop or work or park...) free speech in public monitored by the military, spooks, and the dominant political party; laws that make everyone in the world a criminal; the ability to vote taken away if we're convicted on any of these new "felonies"; and all of us subject to recordings of everything we ever do on the internet (which soon will be surfing, TV, phone, all our purchases, text messages), the ability to run for office taken away if "they" decide to broadcast any of your recorded pecadillos...

      We're to be numbered, watched, recorded, arrested at will, fired at will, paid slave wages per a "free" market that somehow can't pay workers but pays the bosses ever increasing millions.

      Prison can be defined as what YOU can do compared to what your jailers can do, or do to you.

      How, exactly, are we all now NOT in prison? Of course, I'm speaking of the U.S, but I assume Australia isn't exactly shrinking from doing the same as the US and the EU.

      This is the most important subject in all our lives. We're being locked up, and we're helping them do it.
  • Elimination (Score:5, Funny)

    by CmdrGravy ( 645153 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @12:37PM (#14264947) Homepage
    I'm surprised the movie industry doesn't just have them shot and be done with it, it'd be cheaper in the long term and the relative evilness of the act wouldn't impact there current evilness quotient too much.
    • by JonN ( 895435 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @12:40PM (#14264971) Homepage
      But...wouldn't that make them, at least to some, 'evil'? ...oh wait, we are talking about the movie industry, move along nothing to see here
    • hmm, what's worse? A bullet through your stomage and a slow painful death or being assraped every day in the showers?
    • Re:Elimination (Score:5, Interesting)

      by grumpyman ( 849537 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @12:56PM (#14265121)
      Guys, I'd wonder what are the ramifications if a company or organization actually murder a person? The chief executive goes to jail and that's it (like mafia)?
      • Maybe they could outsource the hit to Al Quaeda or some other terrorist outfit, they need the money and the support of a major industry might help rebuild their reputation.
      • IANAL, but same as any murder investigation, people are personally responsible. Anyone who knew about the plan and made no effort to stop it or report it would be guilty of conspiracy. This would be a textbook case of conspiracy, actually (in Texas at least, conspiracy is defined as an agreement between two or more parties to commit a felony.)
      • Well a company or a corporation can't really pull a trigger. An employee could. That employee would certainly face jail time. Presumably any co-conspirators would too. If the board of directors all voted to have the employee kill the person, they'd all be likley facing jail time for conspiracy and aiding and abetting.
        • If the board decided that the person should be killed, then the board should be held for first degree murder. The person doing the actual killing is merely the weapon being used by the board to do the muder. The actual killer should also be held on the same charges.

          Aiding and abetting would be the action of the board, after finding out that one of the members became a murderer, in covering up the crime.

          • Which they would do after the killing... But you are right, a higher level of accountability would probably apply. Perhaps I was a bit too hasty in my analysis.
          • I do not believe that there is any difference in penalty for a felony or conspiracy to commit said felony, and if there is, I'm pretty sure the conspiracy gets the harsher sentence. In fact, I'm pretty sure that conspiracy to attempt murder carries a much worse sentence than attempted murder itself. If you are worried that the board would somehow walk while the hitman faced the gurney, I think that that would not be the case.
      • by quokkapox ( 847798 ) <> on Thursday December 15, 2005 @01:53PM (#14265557)
        Getting whacked is easy enough to avoid - don't accept a free ride on a small airplane that says SONY on the tail.
      • Guys, I'd wonder what are the ramifications if a company or organization actually murder a person? The chief executive goes to jail and that's it (like mafia)?

        Its easy and common to knock off one person, its difficult to knock off multiple people that are affiliated with each other and get away with it.

      • absolutely nothing.

        For example, that time Coca-cola assasinated [] those union leaders in columbia.

        scary world, isn't it?

    • I actually meant to type "record labels" and "their" in that post, please forgive me if these mistakes cause any offence.
    • I'm surprised the movie industry doesn't just have them shot and be done with it

      Posts like these, modded +5, and the comments which inevitably follow, do not say much for the maturity of the Geek mind and culture:

      "But it's no more surprising than the fact that nobody's yet provided the movie and music industry bosses with remedial education of the ballistic kind. With 100+ million active downloaders in the world feeling persecuted by a greed machine, death is coming, statistically"

      It is lunatic to def

  • Of course... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 15, 2005 @12:37PM (#14264949)
    Time to put the CEO of Xerox in jail too, I guess. Oh, and Sony, for their VCRs. And DVD-RW drives. And Microsoft, because Kazaa runs on Windows. Oh, and the Intel CEO too, because Windows runs on Intel processors. And don't forget Maxtor's CEO, because the files are written to a hard drive.

    What happened to putting the actual people who commit crimes in prison? Oh, wait, it's much easier to target the gun maker...
  • by ZiakII ( 829432 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @12:37PM (#14264952)
    So when will Sony be going to jail for their root kit issue? Funny how there not facing criminal charges when what they did was so worse. Add in the fact they still have not taken responsibility for what they did.
  • And... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Meagermanx ( 768421 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @12:38PM (#14264959)
    In other news, your constitutional freedom of speech has been revoked to prevent crimes such as slander, assault, libel, and copyright infringement.
    • Explain to me, what exactly is the direct relation between P2P file sharing and freedom of speech?

      Filesharing sounds a lot more like freedom of beer to me... :-)

      • Well, if I send you a file, all I've really done is used my computer to tell you a rather large number, which you've used your computer to remember. It's a lot closer to speech than property even takes place over a _communications_ network, not a shipping line.
        • Technically yes, you're telling the other computer to remember a large number when commiting copyright infringement. But it is still wrong. Think of it this way. Both mixing two chemicals in a beaker and stealing a TV from a store boil down to a group of chemical reactions. True, one is unbelievably more complex than another, but then again, so is a DVD unbelievably more complicated than the number 548. By your logic, if you can do one, why can't you do the other? You can't just reduce certain thing
          • Actually, stealing the TV involves a physical "reaction" - there's nothing chemical about the actual movement of the TV. Sorry, try again.
    • Does Australia have a constitution that guarantees the right to free speech?

      The thing that strikes me about this story is that in the US, corporate crimes are punished by fines or by dissolution of the corporation, except in cases like Enron where it was not the corporation doing bad things but its directors. Even so, the directors were punished, not the owners (i.e., shareholders).
    • Erm -- when did freedom of speech EVER cover slander or libel? And I really don't see how sharing copyrighted material without permission is a freedom of speech issue.

  • by voice_of_all_reason ( 926702 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @12:40PM (#14264977)
    Australians "risk" jail? Australia was jail!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 15, 2005 @12:50PM (#14265078)
      I went to Australia once. Going through immigration they asked me "Do you have a criminal record?", and I said "I didn't know you still needed one..."
      • Re:Time paradox? (Score:2, Informative)

        by east coast ( 590680 )
        Heh! Mod parent funny. That's the best thing I've heard all day.
      • Do you have a criminal record?


        You can't enter, then.


        Because you have a criminal record.

        So, why can they enter?

        Because they don't.

        How can they not? They either have a clean record of crimes committed, or an unclean one, but they can't not have one in the same way that they can't not be somewhere. Damnit moron, ask the right questions!

        It's rather like the time I went to the U.S. immigration office just insude the Canada/U.S border from my TN1 interview. The immigration officer asked me

  • by $RANDOMLUSER ( 804576 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @12:40PM (#14264978)
    Now if only they'd jail harmonica players, too.
    • First they came for the kazoo players/ I remained silent/ I did not have a kazoo
      When they locked up the harmonica players/ I remained silent/ I did not have a harmonica
      When they came for the triangles/ I remained silent/ I did not play the triangle
      When they came for the cowbell/ there was no one left to speak out.
  • What? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rayin ( 901745 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @12:48PM (#14265048)
    As such, they want Kazaa masterminds Nikki Hemming and Kevin Bermeister to go to jail term.

    Actually, they want no such thing.

    From the article:
    Counsel for the record industry, Tony Bannon, said his side "didn't want" an imprisonment outcome, but argued that Sharman had failed to comply with the order.
    • by Lxy ( 80823 )
      I think "didn't want jail time" is referring to the original charge of copyright violation. I may have misread something, but it appears that they are now pushing for jail time in light of the federal law violation.
  • by Lxy ( 80823 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @12:54PM (#14265108) Journal
    Yes, there is the possiblity of jail time. This goes beyond copyright issues.

    Sharman is being accused of contempt. Contempt because they may not have complied with a court order. This case appears to be going to trial. If found in contempt, they could face jail time.

    This isn't about copyright anymore. The last judgement against them was about copyright. This is about violating federal law. If they are found to not have complied with a court order, they are in violation of federal law, which is grounds for jail time.

    Breaking federal law is not good, and getting caught is worse. Sharman did this to themselves.
    • by Predius ( 560344 ) <josh,coombs&gmail,com> on Thursday December 15, 2005 @01:08PM (#14265228)
      I don't see the contempt of court here.

      Court - "Fix your software to meet our requirements for our market."
      Kazaa - "Nah, we'll just pull out of your market, no infringement, no issue."
      Court - "Uh... like, no, you have to offer software to us so we can impose requirements on it, cause, ummm..."
      Austrailian RIAA - "Yeah, cause we loose if we don't have someone to blame for 'lower profits!'"
      Court - "Thats not quite right, shut up you!"
  • Good (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Verteiron ( 224042 ) * on Thursday December 15, 2005 @12:58PM (#14265138) Homepage
    They've got it coming and I don't really care about the P2P issues. A couple of years ago, it seemed like every other computer I worked on was in my shop solely due to the spyware installed by Kazaa. An otherwise clean computer that had Kazaa installed on it became unusuable within a matter of days due to the sheer volume of popups, RAM-hogging spyware/junkware and all the other crap that Kazaa installed as a matter of course. Uninstalling Kazaa left behind all the junkware. Uninstalling the junkware left behind reinstall tricklers and more often than not would break Winsock completely. Kazaa was the first software to install really damaging spyware automatically; they certainly opened the door for lots of other software to do the same once Sharman proved it was a viable business model. If for no other reason, these yoyos should go to jail for intentionally deceiving hundreds of thousands of users without the slightest regard for their time and money.
    • No. Not Good (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Crash Culligan ( 227354 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @02:27PM (#14265851) Journal
      They've got it coming and I don't really care about the P2P issues.

      That's unfortunate, because if they do get prosecuted and jailed over anything, the record companies doing the prosecuting are not going to be crowing about jailing a spyware manufacturer. They'll be celebrating the jailing of the developers of a peer-to-peer software client that we both know has non-infringing uses.

      And the message they're sending out won't be that "spyware is bad," it'll be that "file sharing is bad." (Optionally insert a ", mmmmmkay?" after each for the full effect.) Between the two, which do you really think will be chilled if this prosecution goes through?

      As fallacious as the whole "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" meme may be, this may be an occasion to let it slide. Should they be jailed? Probably, but let it at least be for the right reason, and let it send the right message.

    • "more often than not would break Winsock completely"

      This is by design. Once the spyware reaches critical mass, the safety mechanism kicks in so the spyware can't call home for more. Very repsonsible of the programmers, I'd say.
  • So the courts want the Kazaa folks "to modify the software to ensure 3,000 keywords would be filtered by 5 December." The hitch is that existing copies wouldn't filter stuff, presumably - the nature of P2P makes that impossible.

    I don't see what the big deal is: the owners did all they could to take Kazaa out of Australia altogether. Even if they made a modified version of the program for Australians - which I think would be less of a drastic change than denying downloads altogether - the fact remanins that the original version of the program will be floating around on the Internet and that plenty of people already have it. You can't filter those people's programs, and who's going to knowingly download a crippled verion of Kazaa? And deleting or disasbling existing copies of the program is similarly impossible.

    So if you knowingly set up a network that you can't take down, what happens when it's deemed illegal and you say, "Hey, my hands are tied"? Is anyone to blame there? The users? The creators? Justin Frankel (who first dreamed up the Gnutella [] protocol that Kazaa is based on)? This is a really messy issue, and I don't think that the judge fully understands what the record companies are asking for.
    • by Tezkah ( 771144 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @01:17PM (#14265305)
      Yes, Kazaa connects to a central servers, which the spyware profiteers (Kazaa owners) run.

      They implemented the Australia IP block on the server, and could easily do the same with the searches. Other programs, such as DirectConnect and Bittorrent wouldn't be so easily controlled by their creator, because they run on networks that were not set up by the creator of the program.

    • They prevented Aussie IPs from downloading Kazaa off the Sharman website.. as if they couldn't go to the dozens of major software sites and get the client from there.

      The court ordered them to do something very specific.. and they didn't.

      That qualifies as contempt of court in pretty much any legal venue I've heard of.

      I realize you're saying that it wouldn't matter much if they complied with the court's wishes, because people could find older/unmodded clients, but that does not remove the obligation to comply
      • The court ordered them to do something very specific.. and they didn't.

        Instead, they chose to filter 100% of the words by refusing to give Australia the product. That it's available via 3rd parties doesn't change that. Australia does not, and should not, have duristiction over the entire planet, and as such Kazaa should not need to comply anymore. Saying otherwise basically opens up every software company on the planet to every hair-brained law any government on the planet comes up with.

    • Kazaa is based on FastTrack, not Gnutella.
    • Whoops... okay, that's what I get for not reading the Wikipedia article carefully & not having my facts clear. Thanks for setting me straight! :)
  • Uh huh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GmAz ( 916505 )
    So this small guy, Kazaa, has to take responsibility of its software, but large companies like Sony don't need to take responsibility of their software. Thats a thinker.
  • by fionnghal ( 306289 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @01:15PM (#14265289) Homepage Journal
    I think the Austrialians need to go after those guys who invented File Transfer Protocal, more files have been shared that way than any other peer to peer software ever written. :-P
    • Archie (Score:5, Interesting)

      by RedLaggedTeut ( 216304 ) on Thursday December 15, 2005 @01:42PM (#14265493) Homepage Journal

      I think the Austrialians need to go after those guys who invented File Transfer Protocal..

      You are trying to be funny, but the US music industry really did try to shut down ftp (successfully) by taking down the Archie index servers. The funny thing is, at the time I wasn't even aware that ftp could be used en masse for distributing music without a license; the Archie index servers were useful in general. This means the music industry will have no remorse to take the entire internet down with them if they expect to maintain their profit margins. You may not even remember Archie because it was killed by the music industry.
  • The first keyword on the list to filter: Kazaa_previous_version.exe
  • As such, they want Kazaa masterminds Nikki Hemming and Kevin Bermeister to go serve a jail term?
    or is it:
    As such, they want Kazaa masterminds Nikki Hemming and Kevin Bermeister to go to jail?

    I am so confused.
  • Andy: [jovial] Well, you're free to go, Bart...right after your
                  additional punishment.
    Homer: Punishment?
      Andy: Well, a mere apology would be a bit empty, eh? Let the booting
    Homer: Booting?
      Andy: Aw, it's just a little kick in the bum.
                    [a man with a gigantic boot walks in]
      Bart: Y'uh oh.
  • I think jailing people for such pathetic white collar crimes is ridiculous.

    hmm. That doesn't seem to me reasonable as a general statement. There *are* many white collar crimes worthy of imprisonment, which aren't violent against one particular person/victim. How about the corrupt pension officer who embezzles 12,000 people out of their retirement savings? How about a bank worker who helps funnel $25B out of a poor country's treasury? A judge who trades decisions for money?

    None of those people
  • by Peaker ( 72084 ) <> on Thursday December 15, 2005 @08:49PM (#14268971) Homepage
    The worst thing that can happen to copyright -- is it being enforced.

    If 30% of the US's population gets huge fines and jailtime for their copyright infringements and/or DMCA violations.
    If 90% of Israel's population gets jailtime for their copyright infringements.
    If similar numbers occur in various countries around the world...

    Copyright will be abolished.

egrep -n '^[a-z].*\(' $ | sort -t':' +2.0