Judge Says No to CRIA

Another example of the Canadian judiciary demonstrating less willingness to roll over at the request of the big entertainment industry concerns.

The Canadian Recording Industry Association just had the door slammed on its request to identify the people behind a list of 29 IP addresses it claims are used by music "uploaders".

Jeff Leiper of Canadian New Media writes:

"The judgement, handed down this morning, says that the plaintiffs -- Canada's big name record labels -- did not make a prima facie case that there was a link between several peer-to-peer pseudonyms and the identities of those whose IP addresses the labels were seeking information for."

Without the names, of course, the CRIA can't proceed with lawsuits.

In addition, Justice von Finckenstein's decision seems to confirm and add to recent commentary and decisions on the legality of music downloading. 

The Copyright Board of Canada ruled in December that P2P downloading is legal, although uploading is not. 

This morning's decision goes further, according to initial media reports, as it states that the CRIA failed to prove the action of the "uploaders" was an infringement of copyright under Canadian law. 

There's a nice twist in the judge's remarks - seems he's really done his homework on this.  From the National Post coverage:

"No evidence was presented that the alleged infringers either distributed or authorized the reproduction of sound recordings," von Finckenstein wrote in his 28-page ruling. "They merely placed personal copies into their shared directories which were accessible by other computer users via a P2P service."

He compared the action to a photocopy machine in a library. "I cannot see a real difference between a library that places a photocopy machine in a room full of copyrighted material and a computer user that places a personal copy on a shared directory linked to a P2P service," he said.

Go Canada!

Bonus link: Music downloads don't hurt sales, say b-school profs