Judge Rules P2P Sharing Illegal

Dennis Faas's picture

The recording industry must be smiling. A US federal judge has just ruled that making songs available on P2P networks violates copyright laws.

The ruling comes from the case Atlantic v. Howell, in which the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued an Arizona resident for copy infringement.  The defendant, whose IP address had been turned over to the court, was targeted since he made his songs available for download on the Kazaa P2P network. Members of the RIAA then hired MediaSentry Services to look into the contents of the shared folder; inside, the company found 2,329 MP3 tracks.

Mr. Howell's defense was three-fold. He stated that he was at work at the time that MediaSentry Services detected his shared folder at home, thus he was not the person sharing the files at the time. Secondly, he pointed out that he had purchased the tracks legally. Finally, Mr. Howell maintained that the tracks in the shared folder had originally been in a non-shared folder, and a hacker had probably found a way to move them into the shared folder. (Source: betanews.com)

The judge, Neil V. Wake, did not buy Mr. Howell's explanations. "It is no defense that a Kazaa user did not directly oversee the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material," he declared in his decision.

He added, "Several cases suggest that Kazaa users commit direct infringement by employing the Kazaa program to make their collections of copyrighted sound recordings available to all other Kazaa users." (Source: digitalmusicnews.com)

The final damage for Mr. Howell? A fine of $40,850 in penalties and court costs. It may not be the multi-million dollar cases that the recording companies are used to, but for Average Joe it sure is a pretty penny.

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