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Monday, 22 December 2003

KAZAA NOT LIABLE FOR COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT SAYS DUTCH SUPREME COURT

Findlaw reports that the Dutch Supreme Court has ruled that the makers of Kazaa, the file-sharing program, cannot be held liable for copyright infringement regarding music, films and other files that are swapped on its network. The action was brought by Buma/Stemra, which protects the interests of the Dutch music industry and had demanded that Kazaa either close down or be forced to pay $124,000 for every day that it operated. According to Australian IT, Buma Sterma has now intimated that it may now go after consumers instead, as part of its attempts to crack down of file-sharing.

The IPKat would be upset if, following this decision, the Dutch music industry chose to target individual file sharers. So far action against individuals has been limited to the US. While file sharing is clearly copyright infringement, there was a time when the general belief was that that copyright would never be enforced. However, this is not the case anymore and few people can be ignorant of the music industry’s intention to enforce its rights. Present-day file sharers are perhaps somewhat less deserving of the our sympathy. Nonetheless, if the Dutch music industry does take action against individual file sharers, it can expect a great deal of negative publicity.

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