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Australian Recording Industry Pursues First Criminal Prosecution For Online Music Piracy

by Mary Swire, for LawAndTax-News.com, Hong Kong

09 September 2003


The Australian recording industry announced recently that it is pursuing what it believes to be the world's first criminal prosecution case against three online purveyors of pirated music.

Following an investigation conducted by the industry-funded Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) organisation, Tommy Le, Peter Tran, and Charles Kok Hau Ng, all based in Sydney, were arrested earlier this year in connection with their 'MPS WMA Land' website.

Last week, according to reports, all three pleaded guilty to infringing the copyright of record companies including Universal, Sony, Warner, EMI, and Festival Mushroom Records. The men face up to five years in jail and/or fines of AU$60,500 per infringement when sentencing takes place in early November.

Speaking to the Australian media on Monday, MIPI's head, Michael Speck observed that:

'This is an important copyright case for industries all over the world because it confirms the view that you can be found and you can be prosecuted even though you hide behind the anonymity that the internet offers.'

Previous legal challenges, such as those mounted against Napster and its imitators, have relied on civil law.


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