Investigators working for the Australian Recording Industry Association raided the offices of Sharman Networks, makers of Kazaa peer-to-peer file-sharing software, earlier today searching for evidence linking the company to copyright infringement.
The company was served with a "search and seize" order issued by a judge at the Federal Court of Australia. The homes of two Sharman executives were also searched.
The company's Cremorne, Australia, headquarters was raided by Music Industry Piracy Investigations, a branch of ARIA (the Australian Recording Industry Association) early on Friday morning, according to Sharman spokesman Rich Chernela.
The search relates to legal proceedings in Australia and was part of a much larger operation that included searches of Australian universities as well as facilities owned by local Internet service provider Telestra.
"It sounds like they really took a shotgun approach," he says.
In a statement, Sharman labels the search "an extraordinary waste of time, money, and resources," and an attempt by the recording industry to disrupt the company's business.
"It is a gross misrepresentation of Sharman's business to suggest that the company in any way facilitates or encourages copyright infringement," the company said.
"The raids may be less about gathering information than sending a message to parties who contribute to the illegal music swapping problem," said Jonathan Zittrain, co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
"This move is consistent with the music industry's generally held view that [file swapping] is a completely illegal activity and that they will use any legal means to impede it," he said.