The first South African Sports & Entertainment law blog

Friday, September 30, 2005

Update: Battle with the File -Sharing Software companies

What have happened accross the globe this year in the fight between the Content owners and the creators of file-Sharing software conveying infringed copyright material?

First, of course, was the June decision of the US Supreme Court in MGM v. Grokster, which made software developers liable for infringement when they take "affirmative steps to foster infringement by third parties."
Then there was the European Commission’s proposed directive and framework decision in July, which would criminalize both direct copyright infringement and "attempting, aiding or abetting and inciting" such infringement; and
most recently, in Universal Music Australia Pty Ltd. v. Sharman License Holdings, Ltd., an Australian court ruled that Sharman Networks -- the owner and operator of the P2P file-sharing program Kazaa -- and its affiliates could be liable for copyright infringement because they:-
(i) knew that the sharing of copyrighted files was widespread throughout the Kazaa system;
(ii) refused to employ any technical measures that would curtail such sharing; and
(iii) actively encouraged users to increase their illegal file-sharing.
The decision is broadly consistent with Grokster, but may be go even further as the court seemed willing to accept rather less evidence of active encouragement of infringement on the part of Kazaa than was the case in Grokster.

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