Kazaa trial: Forensics expert counters anti-copyright claims

A computer forensic expert has countered record label claims that the core technologies in Kazaa cooperate to aid copyright infringement.

Rodney McKemmish, director, KPMG Forensic, took the witness box on Wednesday after he filed affidavits in the Federal Court that claimed components of Kazaa, such as the TopSearch function, were separate.

The former fraud squad detective appeared as a witness for Altnet, the company that offers licensed content via Kazaa's TopSearch.

TopSearch displays search results, such as Altnet's DRM files (gold), and free files (blue), in one window.

The record labels are suing Altnet along with Sharman Networks (Kazaa). The labels claim Altnet works with Sharman to control how the Kazaa system displays available files.

McKemmish's evidence responded to that of witness for the record companies, Michael Bates, a patent and trademark attorney.

Bates had said in his affidavit that Altnet had not taken steps to ensure TopSearch did not present copyright-infringing files as search results.

However, McKemmish found TopSearch only looked for gold files. It was the responsibility of Kazaa, not TopSearch, to display both sorts of files, according to McKemmish's affidavit.

Bates had also claimed that "Altnet, by the TopSearch function, has the means of knowledge of the terms of every search undertaken".

McKemmish, though, found TopSearch only sent statistics for matching search terms to Altnet on a sampling basis. This was in the area of one in every 100 searches, his affidavit said.

In cross examination, senior counsel for the record labels, John Nicholas, argued that Altnet could influence what files displayed in TopSearch.

He said Altnet could program how many gold files appeared for copyrighted search terms like "Delta Goodrem".

This way, Altnet could fill search results for copyrighted songs with gold files, and outnumber blue files, Nicholas said.

Asked to agree, McKemmish said this was possible.

The credibility of evidence by Altnet's second witness, however, was called into question before he could speak.

Senior counsel for the record labels, John Nicholas, asked Justice Wilcox to exclude all evidence from Canberra-based academic and IT consultant Roger Clarke.

Like McKemmish, Clarke had filed two affidavits critical of Bates' report.

Clarke's affidavits showed a "flagrant disregard for the guidelines" of evidence to court, Nicholas said.

Justice Wilcox agreed that the documents were presented poorly, but allowed Clarke's evidence.

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Steven Deare

PC World
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