Courts Disagree On Legality Of Uploading
April 7, 2008 at 6:28 AM (PT)
Leaving a copyrighted song where others can get at it with peer-to-peer software doesn't constitute a copyright violation until someone downloads it, a federal judge said in a record industry lawsuit against college students. The BOSTON judge's comments in a MONDAY pretrial ruling conflict with statements, also made MONDAY, by a NEW YORK federal judge that leaving a copyrighted file accessible could be illegal, even if nobody downloads it.
At issue in both cases is whether people who initially download or own copyrighted music are legally liable if they leave music files accessible to be shared by others. Peer-to-peer sharing services allow computer users to make files on their PCs available to a multitude of other users.
"Both of these rulings are important because it is the first time judges have thoroughly analyzed these questions," said FRED VON LOHMANN, a staff attorney with the ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION, a SAN FRANCISCO-based nonprofit and online free-speech advocate that filed briefs as an interested party in both cases.