Kazaa boss' partner holds clues: record labels

Sharman Networks has decried attempts by record companies to access a computer found in the home of Sharman boss Nikki Hemming.

In proceedings in the Federal Court case centring on the Kazaa file-sharing software, a decision on access to the machine has been stifled by last-minute affidavits from the record companies.

As part of the discovery process, the record companies are seeking access to files on the computer, currently held by an independent solicitor. The computer was seized as part of the Anton Piller orders granted to the companies early this year. The music labels argue that files on the computer will show that the respondents knew Kazaa was being used to infringe copyright.

However, lawyers for Sharman contended that Hemming did not own the computer.

"[They say it's] belonging to her partner, who lived in the same house," Justice Murray Wilcox said.

Senior counsel for Sharman, Robert Ellicot QC, said the record companies did not have the authority to access the files.

"The person whose computer it is, is not party to the case," he said.

"We've already told them there's nothing on it that's discoverable other than the Kazaa software."

He said he had agreed with lawyers for the labels to debate the issue in court without evidence. However, the labels yesterday filed affidavits by computer forensic experts for access to the computer.

The Sharman parties must respond to the labels' affidavits before access can be debated at the next hearing on Wednesday.

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