US Federal Judge Rules P2P Availability Equals Infringement
US District Court judge Neil V. Wake has just ruled that the act of uploading songs onto a Peer-To-Peer (P2P) network is copyright infringement. The decision was delivered in Atlantic vs. Howell, a case initiated by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) against an alledged online music trader. The ruling dismissed Howell’s argument that uploading is not the same as direct distribution of copyrighted material. Instead, Johnson tossed the case and disallowed the distinction. “It is no defense that a Kazaa user did not directly oversee the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted material,” the decision stated.
The defendant, Jeffrey Howell, was tagged by the RIAA for illegally uploading content through KaZaA, even though Howell owned all the songs on CD. However, he ripped them as MP3s and placed them in a “public folder” on his computer that allowed KaZaA members access. The P2P monitoring firm MediaSentry identified Howell as the distributor of the music files.