Opinion » Cybernaut

Cybernaut

A matter of good taste

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Last fall the Supreme Court of Canada made the decision that it was legal to download copyrighted materials through the Internet but illegal to upload the same materials. You can borrow, but you aren’t allowed to lend.

That’s all that the Canadian Recording Industry Association needed to initiate its own spate of lawsuits against 29 Canadians who were considered the worst swappers in the nation.

They hit their first snag when Internet Service Providers refused to reveal the identities of the 29. The CRIA took the ISPs to court, and this week a Federal Judge ruled that song swapping was legal. Judge Konrad von Finckenstein of the Federal Court of Canada determined that "the mere fact of placing a copy on a shared directory in a computer where that copy can be accessed via a P2P service does not amount to distribution."

So now we have two precedents in Canada, one that says it’s not illegal to download and another that says it’s not illegal to upload. That pretty much takes care of the whole file-swapping chain of command, although the P2Ps themselves have yet to be sued for providing a venue for Canadians to swap copyrighted materials.

The CRIA has said they will appeal the decision, claiming that P2P services are responsible for a decline in music sales of more tan $425 million since 1999.