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Jay Currie

One Damn Thing After Another

3/31/2004

Fire up KaZaA

Justice Konrad von Finckenstein ruled Wednesday that the Canadian Recording Industry Association did not prove there was copyright infringement by 29 so-called music uploaders.

Without the names, CRIA can't begin filing lawsuits against the alleged high-volume music traders, identified only as John and Jane Does.

It also reaffirms what the Copyright Board of Canada has already ruled -- downloading music in this country is not illegal.

Von Finckenstein said that downloading a song or making files available in shared directories, like those on Kazaa, does not constitute copyright infringement under the current Canadian law.

"No evidence was presented that the alleged infringers either distributed or authorized the reproduction of sound recordings," he wrote in his 28-page ruling. "They merely placed personal copies into their shared directories which were accessible by other computer users via a P2P service."
canoe.ca
This is huge! With all of the usual cavets about appeals, this decision makes it practically impossible to prosecute file sharers in Canada.

I have not yet located the decision, but von Finckenstein has gone well beyond the idea that downloading is legal in Canada. By expressly mentioning "merely placing personal copies into their shared directories" does not constitute distribution he has blown a huge hole in the arguments which swirled around the whole question of the legality of uploading in Canada.

More later.

Update: You can read the PDF of the the decision here.

Update II If you are interested here is my Tech Central Station piece on file sharing in Canada: Blame Canada and the follow-up, cleverly called, Blame Canada II.

Gluttons for punishment and legal types may want to read the discussion of the original piece at grep.law