Australian Student File Traders Looking at 5 Years

by Jon Newton, 11/11/03

Online, they operated a file-sharing site. Offline, they're students in Sydney, Australia, and although they didn't make any money from their p2p page, Australian record industry enforcer Michael Speck said they cost the record labels around $A200 million.

Now the three - Tommy Le, Peter Tran and Charles Ng - will, on November 18, be sentenced for offences under Australia's federal Copyright Act, with a maximum penalty of five years' jail.

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"In Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court yesterday, Commonwealth prosecutor Paul Roberts, SC, said Tran and Ng should be jailed," reports Sydney's Herald Sun here. "Mr Roberts said Le, 21, did not deserve a custodial sentence because his offences were less serious."

Tran and Ng, both 20, operated the website containing CD collections compiled by aspiring DJ, Le. Roberts said, going on that together, "they stole 390 commercially available CD albums and 946 individual songs from recording artists" using " computerised compression technology to illegally copy the music and adopted nicknames to avoid detection".

Roberts said when police arrested Ng in April 2003, he said he'd built the web site "to help people and not for profit".

Ng claimed he didn't know he'd breached copyright laws, the report continues, but had written an essay on the topic as part of his Bachelor of IT and Law, demonstrating, "he had a full understanding of Australian copyright law," according to Roberts.

In an Australian IT story here, "Anything other than full-time jail 'would not be appropriate' for Ng, who founded and maintained the website, Roberts said.


Jon Newton is the editor of and is a regular contributer to MP3 Newswire. Jon's site is devoted to the politics of digital music and his insights as well as those of his co-writers can be read there. We urge you to explore it.


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