Feeds

File sharers not guilty of copyright infringement – Canadian judge

Offering files is not the same as distributing them

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Top three mobile application threats

Sharing files is not an infringement of copyright under Canadian law, a judge has ruled.

Justice Konrad von Finckenstein today said the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) - the equivalent of the litigious Recording Industry Ass. of America (RIAA) - could not prove that 29 unnamed file sharers sued by the organisation had violated copyright material owned by its members.

"No evidence was presented that the alleged infringers either distributed or authorised the reproduction of sound recordings," von Finckenstein noted in his ruling. "They merely placed personal copies into their shared directories which were accessible by other computer users via a P2P service."

In other words, just putting files in a computer directory that other people can access is insufficient an action to constitute illegal distribution - at least under Canadian law.

"I cannot see a real difference between a library that places a photocopy machine in a room full of copyrighted material and a computer user that places a personal copy on a shared directory linked to a P2P service," he said.

Judge von Finckenstein's ruling brings to an end the CRIA's latest attempt to force four Canadian ISPs to divulge the identities of 29 alleged file sharers who it claims were active during the last two months of 2003. The CRIA needs that information in order to sue the 29 individuals for alleged copyright violation.

The CRIA has no right to demand that information, since it can't show that an illegal act had taken place.

The judge's decision comes on the day the US Congress House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Courts, the Internet and Intellectual Property debates the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act of 2004, a bill that is believed to mandate severe penalties for file sharers shown to have offered copyright material they are not authorised to distribute.

The Canadian ruling comes less than a week after the music industry criticised proposed changes to New Zealand's copyright law to permit CD buyers to rip discs and transfer files to portable digital music players for personal use. ®

Related Stories

New Zealand to 'legalise CD piracy' - music biz
Kazaa and co 'not cause of music biz woes', say Profs
UK, Oz album sales rise despite 'Kazaa crisis'
Music biz takes P2P jihad to Europe and Canada
BPI threatens uploaders with big stick
RIAA sues lots more students

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
ITC: Seagate and LSI can infringe Realtek patents because Realtek isn't in the US
Land of the (get off scot) free, when it's a foreign owner
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.