by Richard Menta, 11/18/03
19 year old Peter Tran and 20 year old Charles Kok Hau Ng were looking at five years each for their convictions in Australia's first criminal prosecution against those who facilitate the trading on music files over the Net. They were also facing massive fines as the music industry tried to pin the loss of 43 million US dollars specifically to their actions.
The judge today passed down a judgement far less severe.
The Rio Karma is listed on Amazon.
Neither Tran nor Ng will spend any time in prison for their conviction for making 1800 tracks available on their site MPW3/WMA Land. The judged ruled that because of their age at the time and the fact they never profited from their actions, no jail time was warranted.
He gave both Tran and Ng 18-month suspended sentences. Additionally, Tran was ordered to pay a $5,000 fine. Ng and a third participant, 21 year old Tommy Le were given 200 hours of community service.
The record industry was not happy with the results.
Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) - the record industry watch dog that helped track down and arrest the three men - manager Michael Speck called the court's decision a slap on the wrist. As he told the Australian press:
"Australia had the opportunity to show the world how seriously it was taking this type of crime..."Instead, the court has allowed them to walk away after saying that they deserved to go to jail -- it's virtually an invitation for Internet pirates to set themselves up in Australia."
Attorney-General Philip Ruddock felt that justice was properly meted out. As he told public radio "A conviction resulted and penalties have now been imposed so that would suggest to me that the law is working as intended,"
Other MP3 stories:
MyTunes Turns iTunes into File Trade Service
Online singles are booming
CDs and the Scarcity Principle