Court Rules Links To Music May Be Illegal
December 22, 2006 at 6:39 AM (PT)
Providing Web links to copyright-protected music is enough to make a site legally liable, an AUSTRALIAN court ruled in a case that created legal uncertainty for search engines around the world.
The full bench of the FEDERAL COURT, the country's second-highest court, has upheld a lower court ruling that STEPHEN COOPER, the operator of the Web site in question, as well as COMCEN, the Internet service provider that hosted it, were guilty under AUSTRALIAN copyright law.
They were accused of authorizing copyright infringement because they provided a search engine whose results linked to songs available for illegal download, even though the Web site did not store the music files directly. COOPER had argued that his Web site performed a function comparable to search engines such as GOOGLE, which is based in the U.S.
Australian courts have attempted to claim jurisdiction over U.S.-based Web sites before.