ISP Court Ruling on Music Sharing in Canada

Published: 2004-07-02
In the latest round in the battle over sharing music files on the internet, the Canadian Supreme Court passed down the ruling that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are not legally responsible for customers file sharing habits. In a unanimous decision the Supreme Court ruled the Internet Service Providers were only "Intermediaries" and thus not responsible for the activity conducted on the servers.

The Canadian music industry and the Society of Composers, Authors, and Music Publishers (SOCAN) took a different line from the music industry in the US. SOCAN thought it would be easier to sue the service providers as opposed to trying to locate all of the individuals sharing music files.

If the ruling had gone against the Canadian Association of Internet Providers – who represent the online services – the cost for internet services could have skyrocketed as the cost of fees to pay songwriters would be passed on to the internet customers.

The computer age, with internet music file sharing, has brought to the forefront a practice that has been going on since records were first produced. Music has been copied and shared legally and illegally from the time the first recording device appeared. And as long as record companies continue to charge excessive amounts of money for CDs, music fans have no incentive to stop the practice of sharing music.

Writer: Sherrill Fulghum



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