April 2, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 97  

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CRIA motion quashed

Sarah Prickett
Gazette Staff

A federal court judge has turned down a motion filed by the Canadian Recording Industry Association that requested Internet service providers to disclose the identities of 29 individuals accused of swapping thousands of files over Kazaa, a file sharing program.

Tuesday’s decision, based partly on section 80 of the Copyright Act, stated that “downloading a song for personal use does not amount to infringement.”

Western assistant law professor Samuel Trosow stressed the need to find a balance between the rights of Internet users and those of copyright owners.

“The reason we have copyright law is to give creative artists, authors and musicians some incentive to go about their innovative work so we can give them compensation,” he said, noting that overcompensation could, conversely, place too many restrictions on users.

“We have to remember that [file-sharing] can legitimately be used to share music files of unsigned bands — music that is intentionally being put on Kazaa by the copyright owner,” said Keir Keightley, assistant professor of media, information and technoculture at Western.

Megan Davis Williams, national director of the Canadian Conference of Arts, said she thinks the courts need to rethink the decision.

“It’s one thing to download something for yourself and listen to it, but it’s different when you’re parking other people’s music on your website,” Williams said. “Where our interest lies is that artists need to be paid for their work, and file-sharing circumvents their chance of getting royalties.

“I don’t think the ruling was definitive,” she added “I’m sure [the CRIA] will appeal.”

According to Mark Perry, assistant professor of law and computer science, the court may allow access to users’ Internet protocol addresses in the future. “What [the CRIA has] to do is convince the court that the people they’re going after are indeed breaching copyright and making unauthorized copies of works themselves.”

The CRIA issued a press release yesterday stating they will appeal the court’s decision, but they were unavailable for comment.



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