Downloading Music Ruled Legal In Canada – Canadian Recording Industry Association Cannot Sue UploadersPosted in In The News on March 31st 2004 by Randy Reichardt
:: In what might be considered a landmark ruling in Canada, Justice Konrad von Finckenstein, a Federal Court judge, today “ruled against a motion which would have allowed the music industry to begin suing individuals who make music available online.” Of interest to me is his comparison of placing music files into a shared directory with the placement of a photocopier in a library surrounded by copyrighted material:
“No evidence was presented that the alleged infringers either distributed or authorized the reproduction of sound recordings,” he wrote in his 28-page ruling. “They merely placed personal copies into their shared directories which were accessible by other computer users via a P2P service.”
He compared the action to a photocopy machine in a library. “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.
The ruling means that the Canadian Recording Industry Association cannot file lawsuits in Canada against individuals who allow for the uploading of music files from their computers. von Finckenstein’s ruling reaffirms what the Copyright Board of Canada ruled in December 2003: downloading music in Canada is not illegal.
Meanwhile, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, based in Europe, is filing lawsuits against 247 file-sharing individuals in Italy, Germany, Denmark and Canada.
The full, 34-page text of Finckenstein’s ruling is available here, in .pdf format. In essence, what is being said is this: downloading a song from the Internet for personal use does not constitute copyright infringment. If Big Music wants to solve the downloading issue, they may need to go about it a different way. And if you think all successful artists are fighting this, read Janis Ian’s two essays on the subject: The Internet Debacle – An Alternative View, and Fallout – A Followup to the Internet Debacle.