AfterDawn: Tech news's case closer to trial

Written by Petteri Pyyny (Google+) @ 01 Sep 2002 15:11 User comments (9)

One of the oldest MP3-related court cases took a step towards court trial on last Thursday when U.S. District Judge Sidney H Stein rejected requests from both parties, in case of vs major record labels represented by RIAA, to rule the case quickly for their favor.
Court date is yet to be set, but this case has been seen as major milestone in determining what is legal and what is not in U.S. legal system -- offered links to pirated music files, located on various servers all around the world. None of the servers were owned or operated by, it merely provided the links. So, this case is a study whether linking to something illegal can be determined illegal or not -- one previous ruling with similiar nature exists already; 2600 hackersite lost its case where court found the site guilty of violating DMCA law when it linked to DeCSS code, not located on its own servers.


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9 user comments

12.9.2002 2:21

On the surface at least, it would seem that the RIAA would win this one. It's like "aiding and abetting" in a sense. I would imagine the courts would rule that providing direct links to the files would be pretty much the same as providing the files themselves, or at least, very close to it. -- A_K --

22.9.2002 2:25

Based on that logic, why Google isn't in the court yet?-) If there's one site in the world that has links to all the pirated tools you can imagine, it's Google :-)

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

32.9.2002 3:27

Perhaps. I think the courts are going to have to make a decision as to just how illegal or objectionable the destination to which a link points to IS. For example, links to child pornography sites are clearly too objectionable to even consider and should be (and are)illegal. How about Neo-Nazi sites? Are links to these illegal? I dunno if "free speech" protects these or not. But links to music files, well..... perhaps on an individual website the RIAA would prevail, but links pointing to people's personal hard drives via a P-to-P system is still a grey area. Web search engines point to just about everything in existence because, so far as I know, they haven't been ordered to stop linking TO or prohibited FROM linking to anything unless it *has* been declared illegal, (like child pornography). The courts will have to decide what is illegal and what isn't. -- K.A. --

42.9.2002 3:37

Actually I'm fairly certain that search engines point to child pornography as well, due their nature to follow the links and harvest everything they find. So, would that make major search engines contributors to child pornography by allowing interested (*yuk!*) parties to find the material they're looking for? And if so, is it enough that they remove the links or can they be sued as well? Because this was the case in's case -- they allowed users to submit tracks, located on WWW servers (yep, no P2P here) and MP3Board simply worked as a search engine to these links. So, Google/AltaVista/co allow users to submit sites, they never check what the heck is on the site, but simply harvest the data and offer a search capabilities to users. How different is that from the practice did? As a side-note, as disgusting and stupid it is, First Amendment in U.S. protects neo-Nazis and allows them to distribute their propaganda through all media if they want to, even that in most European countries you get loooong jailtime just by showing swastika on public. Funny how laws are different and only those set by U.S. (well, nowadays by U.S. companies..) can be enforceable throughout the world.

Petteri Pyyny (pyyny@twitter)

52.9.2002 5:16

The American government is not allowing the War Crimes Tribunal (The very same one trying Milosevic at the moment) to bring to trial any Americans even if they wanted to. It is very easy for us in the (free) world to assume that our guys (politicians I mean) are great and honest (!) but if the rest of the world thinks they cannot be punished, then that sends a very clear message to the rest of the world, I think. Isn't punishment for the crime supposed to be the deterrent anyway? It just smacks of one rule for us, another for them. Perhaps that is why many countries/religions dislike American policies. Anyway, I digress, however, should the carriers (or even search engine providers) be responsible for what is downloaded from the internet? It is difficult to censor most things (perhaps child pornography the obvious exception) because people have a right to choose what they say and watch. However some might say that perhaps even Afterdawn (inadvertently) assists in copyright infringement, or even encourages piracy and therefore should also be banned. Every country would have different rules, eg Iraq might not allow religious material accessed by its users, or Zimbabwe would not allow English websites to be accessed by its population (you see?) We cannot untangle this tangled web we have weaved, so maybe we should leave it alone and try to stop real crime first. Freedom of speech/publication is an important right (one sadly often abused). We should fight for the right not to live in a dictatorial state/country/global village (I hate that term) and not allow big business to tamper (once again) with the laws and statutes of our (reasonably) free countries. Paul. PS I do rant on a bit don't I?

62.9.2002 16:48

Your rants are just fine, Paul. Attempting to sue a web-search engine is simply ludicrous. They (all of them) simply provide a free public service in good faith. If a criminal gets on the telephone and hurredly discusses his bankrobbing plans with a partner criminal, do we sue the telephone company for aiding and abetting his crime? -- K.A. --

72.9.2002 16:58

Sir Klingon, may I direct you here.... Maybe we are spending too much time talking to each other! Paul.

82.9.2002 21:55

You may. Been there, done that, I posted some. So? -- Mike --

93.9.2002 1:01

Ohmigosh, I fell asleep without answering you, Klingon. Anyway awake now, although you are probably now in slumber yourself. Give me a break, it was after 2am in London. Anyway, if you read your post just before my link on this thread and then my first post on the linked thread, you may see the similiarity? That's what I meant by spending too much time talking. Too much similarity. Too much TOOOO MUCH...... Paul. (Not very well rested and frankly grumpy as hell)

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