Norwegian ruling finds Napster 'link site' guilty
January 31, 2005
The recording industry has welcomed a court ruling in Norway that will help protect the newly-emerging online music business and boosts the global fight against internet music piracy.
Norway's Supreme Court has upheld a conviction that ordered a Norwegian student to compensate the music industry for linking unauthorised Internet music files to his Napster.no homepage. The student has been ordered to pay $15,900 in compensation.
The student, a learning computer engineering in Lillehammer, set up Napster.no in 2001 independently of the then illegal Napster.com music site. His site provided approximately 170 links to unauthorised music files in the MP3 format, from servers outside Norway.
A lower court had already found the student guilty after music industry groups and record companies had decided the case was an important test of principle and filed a legal complaint for copyright violations. The case was subsequently overturned on appeal.
On Thursday however, Norway's highest court decided that: "…the case [was] based on responsibility for abetting [an illegal act]," and that the student's actions "were premeditated and worthy of criticism". In a summary of the ruling, the court said the student had violated the law by showing people where to find the illegal music.
Saemund Fiskvik, Director General of IFPI Norway, representing the Norwegian recording industry, said: "The Supreme Court ruling is good news for the legitimate online music industry, which pays its creators and enables reinvestment in new artists and music. The ruling will help stop websites whose business it is to give away pirated music."
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
IFPI represents the recording industry worldwide with over 1,450 members in more than 75 countries and affiliated industry associations in 48 countries.