Thursday, March 31, 2005

Japan: High Court Upholds Conviction P2P Service

Today the High Court of Tokyo has upheld a lower court ruling that convicted MMO Japan Ltd for copyright infringement by providing the file-sharing service File Rogue. This is the first decision by the High Court convicting a P2P service for copyright violations. According to this short news article "the judge said that MMO could predict that the service would infringe on copyrights". It is unclear for now what this "predictability" means, since the decision is not yet available. As far as I can tell File Rogue had a centralized server structure a la Napster, which makes this Japanese decision stand in line with US Napster decision, rather than being a novum related to MGM v. Grokster.

The lower court ruled on the following considerations (from an article on the judgment,
[T]he defendant's service provides its users with an opportunity to exchange MP3 files, which are reproductions of commercially available recordings (CDs). Therefore, as far as the exchange of MP3 files is concerned, the defendant's service, in effect, enables its users to freely send and receive MP3 files, which are reproductions of commercially available recordings (CDs).

[S]ince a user must download the defendant's client software and install the software on his or her PC, and further, is required to connect his or her computer to the defendant's server to actually use the service, receipt and transmission of electronic content files come under the control of the defendant MMO Japan Ltd..
MMO Japan Ltd was sued by the Recording Industry Association of Japan and the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers, who will have to be paid 71 million yen in damages by MMO.
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News thru BNA's Internet Law News by Michael Geist


Blogger Randy said...

The P2P software in question is useless without a modem or a broadband connection.

Since a user must subscribe to an ISPs services and is required to install a network connection on their computer, a users' ability to receive and transmit MP3 files must come under the control of the ISP's that carry the traffic as well as the hardware manufacturers that provide the network adapters and switches.

The problem with this ruling, as is the problem of all rulings that do not recognize that end-users should be held responsible for their own actions, is that the blame can be shifted all the way back to the original inventor of the Internet... Because, really, the Internet is just the worlds' largest copying machine.

15/4/05 08:19  

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