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Linking to copyrighted material could get you sued

Nick Farrell
The Inquirer
Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A LANDMARK ruling down under means that if people link to a page with copyrighted material they could be sued for piracy.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, an Aussie Federal Court upheld a ruling against Stephen Cooper, who ran a site called pp3s4free.net for providing a search engine to enable the illegal downloading of music MP3s.

Also in the dock was his ISP, E-Talk, which had made no efforts to take the site down after it was requested to do so. The court decided that it was making money off the site by running advertisements.

Sabiene Heindl, general manager of Music Industry Piracy Investigations (MIPI) said the decision meant that anyone who stuck a link on MySpace or on their bogs could now expect a knock on the door from its briefs.

Dale Clapperton, vice-chairman of the non-profit organisation Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA), warned that the ruling could have wider implications for search engines such as Google. Cooper was only doing the same thing as Google, except Google acts as a search engine for every type of file, while this site only acts as a search engine for MP3 files.

Heindl disagreed saying that Mp3s4free was different in the sense that it actually catalogued MP3 files that were infringing copyright material - Google doesn't do that.

Mind you, she added, action was being taken against Google in other jurisdictions, and her outfit was rubbing its paws expectantly hoping they would win that one.

We thought we might link to the Sydney Morning Herald piece but since it's the copyright of the Aussie publisher we didn't dare. You'll have to find it on Google.

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