Feeds

File sharers not guilty of copyright infringement – Canadian judge

Offering files is not the same as distributing them

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

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

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Assange™: Hey world, I'M STILL HERE, ignore that Snowden guy
Press conference: ME ME ME ME ME ME ME (cont'd pg 94)
Premier League wants to PURGE ALL FOOTIE GIFs from social media
Not paying Murdoch? You're gonna get a right LEGALLING - thanks to automated software
Caught red-handed: UK cops, PCSOs, specials behaving badly… on social media
No Mr Fuzz, don't ask a crime victim to be your pal on Facebook
Online tat bazaar eBay coughs to YET ANOTHER outage
Web-based flea market struck dumb by size and scale of fail
Amazon takes swipe at PayPal, Square with card reader for mobes
Etailer plans to undercut rivals with low transaction fee offer
US regulators OK sale of IBM's x86 server biz to Lenovo
Now all that remains is for gov't offices to ban the boxes
XBOX One will learn to play media from USB and DLNA sources
Hang on? Aren't those file formats you hardly ever see outside torrents?
Class war! Wikipedia's workers revolt again
Bourgeois paper-shufflers have 'suspended democracy', sniff unpaid proles
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.