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The owners of the Kazaa online file-sharing network are working on a new version to meet a court mandate aimed at preventing users from illegally swapping copyright music and movies. Sharman Networks Ltd. has until next week to develop a filtering system that would block files based on about 3,000 keywords, most likely the names of popular recording artists. Federal Court Judge Murray Wilcox ordered Kazaa’s owners last week to install the new filters as part of lawsuit filed by the Australian recording industry. Wilcox also told Sharman to urge Kazaa users to download the new software. “There will have to be filters in place by Dec. 5 or Kazaa will be shut down,” Stephen Peach, chief executive of the Australian Record Industry Association, said in a statement Monday. Although Sharman is legally incorporated in the South Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, its main offices are in Sydney. It is unlikely Kazaa could be shut down completely. Any order would only cover Australian users; the software is used by millions of people around the world to exchange files containing music, movies and other material. Also, users of older versions of the Kazaa software would likely be unaffected by the new filters. Furthermore, it’s not clear how well filters will end piracy. In the past, users of file-sharing networks have countered filters by purposely misspelling the names of artists and songs. Sharman spokeswoman Julie Fenwick said the company is working to comply with the order, even as it appeals the September ruling that found Sharman liable for copyright infringement. In that ruling, Wilcox said it had been in the financial interest of Sharman and its partners “to maximize, not minimize, music file-sharing.” A hearing to set damages is expected next year. Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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