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Thread: Canadian ISPs win on copyright ruling

  1. #1
    AO French Antique News Whore
    Join Date
    Aug 2001

    Canadian ISPs win on copyright ruling

    Internet service providers cannot be held liable for the copyright infringement of their subscribers, even when a cached copy of a work is held on local servers, a Canadian court has ruled.
    The decision on Wednesday marked an important victory for the country's ISPs, which were worried about being held legally or financially responsible for subscribers' use of peer-to-peer and other music downloading services.

    A lower court decision had said that, in general, ISPs should not be responsible for their subscribers' actions, but creating locally stored versions of copyrighted content, even if they were made only temporarily during the transmission process, might be enough to trigger liability. The higher court disagreed.

    "The creation of a cache copy is a serendipitous consequence of improvements in Internet technology, is content neutral...and ought not to have any legal bearing on the communication," the court said in its decision. "Caching is dictated by the need to deliver faster and more economic service and should not, when undertaken only for such technical reasons, attract copyright liability."

    The decision follows almost a decade of litigation and national regulatory appeals. Canadian music publishers and songwriters had originally asked that ISPs and Web sites that distribute music pay a tariff similar to the one applied to blank tapes, CDs and, more recently, hard-drive MP3 players such as iPods. That tariff is aimed at compensating musicians for copyright infringement using those mediums, and the publishers thought Net services should also pay.

    But Canadian law, like U.S. legislation, holds that ISPs simply serve as a conduit for content that flows to their subscribers from Web sites and other originating points. The court Wednesday said that shields them from copyright liability.

    In theory, the process now will move on to determining how much other parties, such as Web sites, should pay. However, the Net has changed substantially since the proceeding started in 1995. Most music is now distributed either by licensed sites like Apple Computer's iTunes, which pays copyright holders directly, or through peer-to-peer networks such as Kazaa.

    "It feels a bit archaic in that the specific tariffs are no longer focusing on the dominant way music is distributed," said Michael Geist, a professor at the University of Ottawa Law School.

    Canada's courts have been active in copyright and Internet law recently, ruling in March that file sharing was largely legal inside that country's borders.
    Source :

    All my Mp3 are Legal! haha!
    -Simon \"SDK\"

  2. #2
    Senior Member nihil's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    United Kingdom: Bridlington
    Hmmmm..............interesting one there Simon?

    If I paid a "tariff" to "compensate musicians" then I would take the view that I had just bought the RIGHT to copy their material?

    So they (and more importantly, the companies that pull their wires) should p1$$ off and quit whingeing?

    As soon as you start "taxing" items that might be used for copying music or whatever, you have implicitly legalised such copying, because you have effectively sold a licence?

    That would certainly be the legal problem over here



  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    I don't know. I suppose on the face of it the ruling seems ok.

  4. #4
    AO Curmudgeon rcgreen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    In the end they'll have to put a tax on internet access to
    buy the bastards off. But, in exchange for that, they would have
    to forego the right to sue consumers for swapping files.
    I came in to the world with nothing. I still have most of it.

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