Liability for MP3-links in
The music industry is
celebrating a victory. In Australia the operator of MP3s4free.net, 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
July 26, 2005:
liable for MP3 links, Outlaw.com:
"It is thought to be the first time that an ISP has been found liable for
copyright infringement by allowing its infrastructure to be used for linking
to music files."
July 15, 2005:
Australien: Provider für Links auf illegale Musik-Download-Dienste haftbar,
"Die Musikindustrie hat in Australien einen Prozess gegen einen
Website-Betreiber gewonnen, der Hyperlinks zu Seiten gesetzt hatte, auf
denen illegal kopierte Musikdateien heruntergeladen werden können."
July 14, 2005: Deare,
Australian man, ISP found guilty of piracy, CNet:
"Major record labels in Australia have won a legal battle against a man and
his ISP for alleged music piracy."