Addicted to novelty since 2001

Let’s Go Download Some More Music, Eh?

As Donna, Tim (who offers the unlikely interjection, ‘Go, Judge Finckenstein!’) and sundry others have pointed out, the music industry’s legal campaign suffered a shuddering uppercut yesterday:

Individuals who share personal copies of music files on the internet are safe after a Federal Court rejected a motion on Wednesday that would have allowed the music industry to sue them. Justice Konrad von Finckenstein said the Canadian Recording Industry Association hadn’t shown copyright infringement by 29 people who had allowed their music files to be uploaded.

There’s a pretty good CBC Quicktime report here. Distressingly, to be a Internet law expert in Canada, apparently you have to have Art Garfunkel’s hair. Judge Konrad von Finckenstein (is there a better name in Canadian judicial history?) compares (PDF, the complete decision) file-sharing to “a library that places a photocopy machine in a room full of copyrighted material”. This metaphor seems to work for sharing or hosting files. Surely, however, if you download a file, it’s like using that photocopier to copy a whole book, and therefore illegal? In short, this is only the first round of a lengthy court battle which, in light of how things have gone in the States, the RIAA et al are likely to win.

Regardless, this is handy, as I’ve been downloading rare tracks for the Great Canadian Song Contest Speaking of downloading music, via Richard I discovered, a Canadian jazz site where you can legally download 25 hours of MP3s for free.

3 Responses to “Let’s Go Download Some More Music, Eh?”

  1. donna

    One big win on this is that it means that the music people can’t go after Canadians who simply make files available. They have to prove that we don’t own the files on our systems, and/or prove that we downloaded something we don’t own.

    This makes me happy, because I download a lot of music that I actually own. Okay, I also download a lot that I don’t and I’m perfectly willing to take the rap for that. However, a good half of my 10GB collection is legitimate. I just really hate ripping CD’s and find it easier to just download the songs that I want off the albums I buy.

    So, good news for us. :)

  2. Richard

    IANAL. But.
    I think people have to be careful to put an overly-broad interpretation on this. I have seen people asking whether this means they can just post links to their music in their weblogs. The judge said

    “Before it constitutes distribution, there must be a positive act by the owner of the shared directory, such as sending out the copies or advertising that they are available for copying.”

    I think you could probably argue that posting a link in a weblog would constitute “advertising that they are available”.

    It’s mainly in the context of open shared directories that other people can search that the hosting of music is safe under his decision, as I read it.

  3. harp

    all lawyers should have Art Garfunkel hair. That would be fully rad.

    The best way around this is for artists to not sign record deals and do things a different route. Ambitious and slightly impossible, especially considering how idiotic musicians can get when “a DEAL!” is dropped in their lap, but record deals and the recording industry is a huge huge scam. From there, another method of music sales and distribution has to be implemented.

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