Australian Kazaa fans can now no longer use or download the P2P application.
As an apparent deadline for the addition of copyright filtering technology came and went yesterday without such a change apparently being made, Kazaa owner Sharman Networks was forced to stop distributing its software to local users.
Anyone accessing the Kazaa website was told: "To comply with the orders of the Federal Court... use of the Kazaa Media Desktop is not permitted by persons in Australia. If you are in Australia, you must not download or use the Kazaa Media Desktop."
Sharman Networks' message to users
The 5 December deadline was much touted by the Australian music industry, but it remains open to interpretation as to whether Sydney-based Federal Court Judge Murray Wilcox meant that Sharman must implement anti-infringement filtering technology by that date or risk being shut down.
Certainly, the music industry has latched onto that date, and is now looking to have the court declare Sharman in breach of Judge Wilcox's order.
The Register's analysis of the court transcripts suggest it is not, but since Sharman was ordered by Judge Wilcox in September to refrain from "authorising Kazaa users to do in Australia any of the infringing acts, in relation to any sound recording of which any of the applicants is the copyright owner, without the licence of the relevant copyright owner", the company has clearly decided discretion is the better part of valour, and to wait for its appeal to come to court.
Sharman was told that Kazaa Media Desktop would not violate the order, provided it implement a "non-optional key word filter" system to weed out works owned by the music industry companies it had been sued by. Such a system was to be supported by Sharman and the music firms, but while the latter wanted Judge Wilcox's filtering system to be implemented, Sharman said it wanted to use Audible's Magic technology instead, which it maintains is more robust and more efficient. The downside: it will take longer to implement, and the music industry doesn't appear impressed.
Some observers have suggested the industry simply wants Kazaa shut down, and would rather it close than implement a copyright maintenance scheme.®