Recording firms ask to scan university computers

Taken from:-

Well, interesting read, it's happening in Australia too.


Recording companies have asked the Federal Court to allow their computer experts to scan all computers at the University of Melbourne for sound files and email accounts, so they can gather evidence of claimed widespread breaches of copyright.

In Sydney yesterday, the companies - Festival, Sony and EMI - reached agreement with the University of Sydney and the University of Tasmania to preserve the files as evidence. The universities have not agreed to hand over the information.

Counsel for the companies, Mr Tony Bannon SC, said industry studies of piracy had found public institutions such as universities and libraries were the biggest repositories of unlawful sound recordings.

The industry has claimed unauthorised music swapping has contributed to an 8.9 per cent fall in music sales in the past year.

The University of Melbourne, which is opposing the recording companies' application for preservation and access, said it had cautioned two students about inappropriate material the MP3 sound files and had disabled the links to record from their personal web pages. It said there was no indication that any copying has been undertaken.

One of the student's web pages had a list of his top 15 songs, with the following invitation: "These are my favourites and here are the links to my MP3 file."

Justice Brian Tamberlin asked: "Where did he get them from?"

Mr Bannon: "I don't know."

"Where are they stored?" asked the judge.

"That's another thing we don't know," was the reply.

Mr Bannon argued the companies should have access to email accounts, as evidence of an email with an MP3 attachment would prove that copying and transmission had occurred. He said one of the students had 500 MP3 files.

Mr Bret Walker, SC, for the University of Melbourne, told Justice Tamberlin that the present proceedings were punitive, and the university opposed everything in principal.

The hearing was adjourned to Friday, and the judge refused to issue an interim order for the university to preserve the files until then.