The popular file-sharing service Kazaa has been put on notice. Sharman Networks, the Australian company that purchased the Kazaa network and software in 2002, has been told by an Australian judge that they have until December 5 to either filter copyrighted music from its system or shut down their operations entirely.

This ultimatum is a clear follow-up to the previous judgement, handed down by the Australian courts in September, that Kazaa had essentially authorized users to violate copyright. Sharman Networks had appealed this judgement, but it looks like the Australian court is serious about enforcing its desires.

To avoid complete shutdown, Sharman Networks must, as a "first step," implement a keyword-filtering system for the Kazaa network within 10 days. This would remove the links to many copyrighted files already being shared over the network, but obviously it would be easy for users to add intentional misspellings to their files in order to bypass the filters. There has been no comment about whether or not the fake, static-filled music files hosted on high-speed connections by the music industry themselves would be subject to these same keyword filters.

The chairman of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), an organization that represents the recording industry in over 75 countries, issued this statement:

It's time for services like Kazaa to move on—to filter, go legal or make way for others who are trying to build a digital music business the correct and legal way.
Kazaa owners given ten days to conform or die