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Australian man & his ISP found guilty of piracy

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Stephen Cooper, operator of the mp3s4free Web site, was found guilty of copyright infringement by Federal Court Justice Brian Tamberlin.

Although Cooper didn't host pirated recordings per se, the court found he breached the law by creating hyperlinks to sites that had infringing sound recordings.

This is the first such judgement against hyperlinking in Australia.

Tamberlin found against all other respondents in the case, namely ISP Comcen, its employee Chris Takoushis, Comcen's parent company E-Talk Communications, and its director Liam Bal.

In October 2003, the record companies, which included Universal Music, Sony, Warner and EMI, alleged that Cooper cooperated with Bal and Takoushis to increase traffic to the ISP, and aide advertising revenue.

Subsequently, the court was told Cooper was unaware he may have infringed copyright law, while E-Talk and Comcen argued they didn't know of Cooper's actions.

"This is a very significant blow in the war against piracy.

The parties will only be required to pay costs -- which will be decided in 14 days once the music industry serves short minutes of orders in reponse to the judgement.

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