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Monday, 2 December, 2002, 13:46 GMT
Arguments heard over file-swapping
Kazaa front page
Kazaa is one of the sites facing the copyright suit
A judge in Los Angeles will hear arguments in the copyright infringement case against music file-swapping services that include Kazaa and Grokster on Monday.

The hearing comes after lawyers for a range of movie and music companies met on Sunday to discuss the case.

The infringement case is being brought against file-swapping services Kazaa, Grokster and Morpheus Music City, which is now called Steamcast.

The suit is being bought by the Recording Industry Association of America, the National Music Publishers Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America.

The sites have all been allowing users to swap music files with each other - and in some cases, movies as well.

Users register with the sites and download their software, which then joins them to a network that allows them to access and listen to music files - or watch movie files - kept on other subscribers' computers.

Ruling

It comes a week after another hearing to decide whether the new owners of Kazaa, Sharman Networks, which is registered in Australia, can be included in the current copyright suit.

Sharman's defence attorney, David Casselman, said holding the company liable for copyright violations would be akin to suing computer manufacturers for the crimes carried out by hackers.

A Dutch appeal court upheld the view that a company was not responsible for what people did with its software in a ruling made in March this year.

The US judge has not yet made a decision.

In court arguments, prosecuting lawyers have argued the companies are no different to the controversial file-sharing service Napster, which was finally closed down this year after a long legal battle.

On Friday, a bankruptcy court approved the sale of Napster's assets to CD-burning company Roxio.

The suit comes as file-swapping on the internet rises in the US.

It is also expected to rise enormously in Europe as the cost of broadband internet access falls.

See also:

26 Nov 02 | Entertainment
10 Jul 02 | Business
23 May 02 | Science/Nature
28 Mar 02 | Business
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