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CD pirates to get 'slap on wrist'

Oct. 1, 2003 at 5:29 PM

SYDNEY, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Three students pleaded guilty to Australia's first criminal Internet piracy charges in a case the music industry said cost it $60 million.

But industry representatives believe the plea bargain struck between the trio and the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions means the defendants will receive penalties too lenient for their crimes, the Australian reported.

Music Industry Piracy Investigations agency spokesman Michael Speck applied Tuesday to the New South Wales Local Court to be heard on behalf of the victims during sentencing because, he said, the prosecution's case was deficient.

Magistrate John Andrews refused the application.

Outside court, Speck told the Australian the refusal meant Andrews had allowed the prosecution to effectively act for the defendants.

"These guys will be getting away with the biggest rip-off of copy in Australian history, and they will probably get away with a slap on the wrist," Speck said.

The defendants operated an illegal Napster-style site for downloading music CDs known as 'DJ Ace'.

The site had 390 CDs, more than 1,800 tracks, and has had more than 7 million hits.

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