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Liability for MP3-links in Australia

The music industry is celebrating a victory. In Australia the operator of, which provided links to pirated material has been found guilty of copyright infringement by Australia’s Federal Court (Universal Music Australia v Cooper, the ComCen case). The lawsuit was brought by a number of music companies including Universal, Sony and EMI.

Defendant's website contained hyperlinks to thousands of unauthorized sound recordings which were located on remote websites and were downloaded directly from those websites to the computer of the internet user. The court held that defendant had “permitted or approved” and thereby authorized the copyright infringement by internet users who accessed his website. According to reports on the case, the ruling means that linking to websites with pirated material, and not just downloading it, is an infringement of copyright in Australia. In my opinion one can't conclude from the judgement that merely linking to copyrighted material on the web infringes copyright. Defendant lost his case because the Court held against the him that he facilitated and encouraged other people to infringe.

Text of the decision



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