Wednesday, February 09, 2005

New MP3 Linkage Case

This news story tells of a pending Australian court case on the legality of providing links to sites offering free, as in beer and infringe, MP3s. Music labels are suing the operator of mp3s4forfree.net and an ISP (ComCen) for providing free music. No MP3 files were actually stored on the mp3sforfree site or the server of the ISP. There are not even records that the tracked visitors have actually downloaded songs via links provided by the accused.

The story notes that "the case is expected to make legal history for whether Internet businesses can be held blameless for providing "links" to other sites where the music files reside." This is only true when seen in the narrowness of Australian judicial precedent. Recently a Norwegian court has fined a student on similar grounds, while a Dutch court has acquitted a site providing links (partly) on the ground that it did not actually hosted the MP3s. (Compare this earlier posting on the issue). It will be interesting to see whether the Australian court will follow Dutch or Norwegian legal history. My bet is on the Norwegians.

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