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The Courts Government Media Music News

Norwegian Student Ordered to Pay for Hyperlinks to Music 580

Stephan writes "The AP reports that Norway's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a student whose Napster.no homepage (no relation to the U.S. Napster, apparently) had links to free Internet music files must compensate the music industry. The around 170 links to mp3s will cost its creator $15,900. In a summary of its ruling, the supreme court said the music was clearly published in violation of copyright law. An unofficial English translation of the Court of Appeal decision (earlier in the case) provided by the lawyer of the defendant and more information on the case can be found at the Links & Law Website."
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Norwegian Student Ordered to Pay for Hyperlinks to Music

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  • *Bang* (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bigthecat ( 678093 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:11PM (#11504788)
    And with a mighty pop, the number 1 excuse behind hosting Torrents fizzles.

    In Norway at least.

    • Re:*Bang* (Score:5, Informative)

      by wankledot ( 712148 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:17PM (#11504849)
      Except that the torrent tracking sites don't expressly know that the files represent a copyright infringement. In this case the person was linking to files he knew (and evidently could be proven that he knew) would be illegal to download.

      The torrent sites have a very slim chance of pleading ignorance the same way that any community message board or service can plead ignorance to what's being posted. Of course, the **AA will come back and say that they need to make a reasonable effort to make sure copyrighted material isn't posted.

      • Re:*Bang* (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Bigthecat ( 678093 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:36PM (#11505093)
        Except that the torrent tracking sites don't expressly know that the files represent a copyright infringement. In this case the person was linking to files he knew (and evidently could be proven that he knew) would be illegal to download.

        However; when there's infringing content constantly on the front page of the tracking site and asking almost any user why they're going there leads to the obvious answer, I don't know which court isn't going to make the leap of logic.

        It's all well and good to cut things down into semantics, but when every man and his dog on the net knows a particular torrent tracking site as 'the source' for infringing content, it's a little hard to believe that the person(s) spending their money, designing and running the site aren't just as aware. Courts are smarter than many seem to think; and little schemes like this may sound great for getting out of legal hassles on the 'net, but when it comes to that silent courtroom where dozens of people are intently listening on every semantic of what is said, I don't think it has much of a hope of holding up.

        • Re:*Bang* (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Jim_Maryland ( 718224 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:54PM (#11505332)
          If this were about say drugs instead of music, would a person still be held accountable?

          Example...

          Lets say a friend asked me where to find some crack and I tell him to check the corner of 4th Avenue and Jefferson Street. How would I be charged in this case? Should I be charged? How about if I have absolutely no ties to the person/area I send the person?

          Is telling a person where to obtain something illegal in itself illegal?

          Likely this guy knew exactly what he was linking to and if illegal, he should be punished, but I would like to think it wouldn't be nearly as bad as the people actually hosting the illegal content. From what I've seen, the fines this guy faces exceed those mentioned in other settlements to the RIAA (yes, I realize these are settlements not fines).
          • Re:*Bang* (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Bigthecat ( 678093 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @02:18PM (#11505686)
            If this were about say drugs instead of music, would a person still be held accountable? Example...

            Hasn't it connected yet? Haven't you guys figured it out? Copyright isn't being considered the same as most other things. Look at the decisions that have been made. Decisions such as this get made, and somebody uses an analogy as to why it shouldn't agree, they get modded, people are merry, but that doesn't change the simple facts: This is the decision for this region, for now it is law, and an analogy won't change that. It is what it is.

            If you'd wanted a killer analogy, you should have used the old 'Gee, if I find some links to illegal stuff on Google then they'd get nailed'.

            And there's the problem: The Slashdot crowd seems to think that these courts and legislators are not only stupid, but have to be tied to a stupid set of rules. Make an analogy that paints it in a different light and it's all better; but if you think that they have to think in terms of these broad analogies e.g. 'Oh gee, it's only a link, people have links everywhere, therefore this site can't be specifically geared towards directing people to illegal content'. These people know perfectly well 'what is going on' and who to target, and making an analogy that may have some merit for people they aren't targetting isn't going to achieve anything. When making decisions such as these they don't have to reflect on the universe of possibilities of what may happen with ludicrous interpretations of it, because in the end they're simply going after the people categorising and making a service that points to infringing content.

            At exactly what stage are you people going to realise that they know what the popular methods are for getting illegal content, and that they're not going to be fooled by a legitimate file here and there that 'some guy on the net' thinks will make a person with a lifetime of experience an utter moron and not realise it?

            And the 'anti-copyright rights movement' wonders why decisions keep being made against their cause with laughable arguments that seem based on the idea that every person in the RIAA, MPAA, any court, etc. doesn't know how to turn on a computer. People constantly scream about how 'copying isn't stealing' and these computer and Internet processes are unique and are misunderstood and not realistically covered under conventional laws: Well guess what guys, this is why all of your analogies aren't worth they time spent typing them out, because the other side realises this also, and hence why these decisions for modern-day technologies are different when put in a traditional environment. You're getting something you asked for and something you didn't; and that something you didn't is the understanding that the courts and the legislators aren't as computer illiterate as you once imagined and they are creating decisions that wrap around a new environment for copyright protection.

            • Re:*Bang* (Score:5, Interesting)

              by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:49PM (#11507677)
              And the 'anti-copyright rights movement' wonders why decisions keep being made against their cause with laughable arguments that seem based on the idea that every person in the RIAA, MPAA, any court, etc. doesn't know how to turn on a computer

              I am not sure what movement you refer to, but the one I consider myself being a part of has completely different motivation. We do believe that there is no such thing as "intellectual property" not on legal grounds but on moral and phillosophical ones. In other words, the "Intellectual Property" "laws" are nothing but a conspiracy by a cabal of crooks and idiots aimed to entrich themselves at the expense of the entire human race. Thus the analogies you mentioned are only used to illustrate utter ridiculousness of the entire idea of "intellectual property", and by extension any "laws" drafted to protect the insane thing. This technique, to demonstrate idiocy masquarading as wisdom by wrapping itself in semi-plausible complexity, is ancient and has even a latin name originating from ancient Rome, it is called "reductio ad absurdum".

              People constantly scream about how 'copying isn't stealing' and these computer and Internet processes are unique and are misunderstood and not realistically covered under conventional laws: Well guess what guys, this is why all of your analogies aren't worth they time spent typing them out, because the other side realises this also, and hence why these decisions for modern-day technologies are different when put in a traditional environment.

              Nothing could be further from the truth. Not only we do not claim that Internet is "unique" and "misunderstood" but we claim the exact opposite: that the concepts of "property" and "stealing" are ancient and immutable, being the very foundation of our branch of human civilizations, and thus are not subject of being mutated and transformed at a whim of a current crew of greed-worshippers just because they happen to use new technology to get rich. While we claim that one can only steal physical property, it is they who claim that the concept of stealing is a quaint little old thing and needs to be "updated" to include puffs of electrons and sequences of integer numbers. The fact that these decisions go against us have far more to do with victories of corporate globalization and establishment of permanent strata of corporate masters and overlords, whose "laws" superceed those "obsolete" ideals like freedom of thought and commerce.

              • Re:*Bang* (Score:3, Insightful)

                I dont want to argue that the current way how copy right is handled is correct.

                But this:

                In other words, the "Intellectual Property" "laws" are nothing but a conspiracy by a cabal of crooks and idiots aimed to entrich themselves at the expense of the entire human race.

                is nonsense.

                And your further conclusions are nonsense as well.

                Material property, what is that? A car, a house, a real estate? So if you own real estate, and you grow crops on it? Who owns the crops? You! Right?
                If under the earth on your
                • Re:*Bang* (Score:4, Insightful)

                  by IgnoramusMaximus ( 692000 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @09:26PM (#11510367)
                  is nonsense.

                  Let's see.

                  Material property, what is that? A car, a house, a real estate? So if you own real estate, and you grow crops on it? Who owns the crops? You! Right? If under the earth on your real estate is ore, or oil, and you dig it out, who owns it? You! Right? If you take mud from your ground and form a statuett who owns it? You! Right?

                  Right. All of these are examples of property, since they have the following characteristics: they are physical objects that can occupy only one unique location in space and can be used by a person or group of persons ("the owners") who would lose the use of the said items if someone were to take them to another physical location i.e. "commit theft" (this of course does not apply to land unless you are in possession of a planet moving device).

                  And now the quantum leap: if you write a story .... who owns it? At roman times, where you reffer to, no one owned it. Everybody could "use" it and "make it to money". With the result that the "inventor" rarely made any money and barely could make a living.

                  This is a crucial piece of evidence here indicating that you have lost all perspective and are totally in the clutches of greed-worshippers. The actual truth is that the inventors did make fortunes if they were good at making fortunes from their inventions, but more importantly, most of them invented not because they wanted to get rich but because they were people who wanted to invent things from an intrinsic need to discover and improve things. This is the fallacy of the corporatist arguments. A worshipper of greed can only understand people as long as they are motivated exclusively by money. Money is a factor in people's lives but very few of us would go into science or art for the money and still could call themselves "scientists" or "artists". The argument you are making applies only to corporations, whereby the actual inventors who do it for the love for inventing are employees and the owner of the invention is the corporation. Corporations are indeed motivated exclusively by money.

                  This ludicrous argument of greed is of course is far more acute in the area of arts. I am sure Plato wrote out of greed. Shakespeare did it because he wanted to own a theatre chain. Mozart was composing out of love of gold. Etc. In fact, no artist does it for money. The definition of art is a search of way of expression of internal state of mind of an artist so that he/she can communicate it to other people. Money is a distantly remote factor, only useful as far as granting the artist tools for expression. That is why music and film "industries" aren't. An idea of an art "industry" is a perversion akin to having a "ministry of love". And just like Orwell predicted, terms such as "music industry" and "intellectual property" are made to obscure the truth and tilt the discussion towards the greed mongers by framing the issue in their terms.

                  Intellectual property makes a person who has nothing but his mind equal to any other person who has property, be it money, land or resources. Its NOT AGAINST humanity to have intellectual property laws. Its a basic human right that my ideas are MINE, that my work is MINE. If we had no laws, the people with the money had EVERYTHING. With no money you can't compete with them.

                  This is absolutely untrue. If it were so, no progress could have occured. The primodial caveman would demand that the idea of a "wheel" is his and his inhereitants until the end of time. An idea of a language. Alphabet. Numbers. All of these were brought to the world by people who were furthering the human race. If they were anything like you and yelled "Mine! Its all fucking Mine! Yeaa! Gimme! Gimme!" we would still be using stone tools to hunt. Furthermore, none of the ideas we have lives in vacuum. In order to learn we need the language (someone's property according to you), written symbols to read (someones else's property), numbers, formulas, physical discoverie

          • Re:*Bang* (Score:3, Informative)

            by alienw ( 585907 )
            I don't think you understand the concept of vicarious (contributory) infringement. If you have a reason to know that your site is used to violate copyright law and you gain some sort of benefit from such violations (drawing visitors to your site counts), you can be liable for contributory infringement. Providing direct links or torrents is obvious infringement. Saying something like "You might be able to get xxx if you search on google" probably isn't, but it's a gray area. There are exceptions for ISPs
            • Re:*Bang* (Score:4, Interesting)

              by russotto ( 537200 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @02:52PM (#11506170) Journal
              There's actually nothing in the US statutes about contributory and vicarious infringement (which are separate concepts). They were invented by the courts in order to help out Jack Valenti and company.

              But this case was in Norway, so that's not really relevant.
          • Re:*Bang* (Score:3, Interesting)

            by dracocat ( 554744 )
            Try this one

            You stand all day on the street corner and direct people to different locations for different people and locations depending on the drug or illegal item they want to buy.

            At least take the analogy all the way through. In your example it would be as if somebody e-mailed a link to a friend to get the content rather than publishing a list of links all to infringed content.
    • because, of course, there are so many torrent sites hosted in norway.

      Anyway it isn't the same thing. They link to a torrent, which is a harmless ~10kb piece of data. What the user does with the torrent is none of the web-site owner's business, and if the data is fed through the right programs the programs can connect to another site which can give links to where it may be downloaded. But the torrent sites aren't linking to the actual files.
      • Re:*Bang* (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FuzzyDaddy ( 584528 )
        I would argue that the torrent is linking to the files. Just like an html hyperlink, it provides software running on your machine a way to get a given file. I mean, the hyperlink was probably no more than 30 characters long, but functionally "published" the files, according to the court.

        • Re:*Bang* (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @02:02PM (#11505463) Homepage
          So, what if I said, out loud, in the presence of witnesses, the IP address of a site where one can possibly download a song someone claims is copyrighted. Would that be infringement? What if I wrote it down on a piece of paper and gave it to someone? Put it on a poster and put it on a wall? Wrote it on a wall? What if I published the address in a blog? How about a letter to a friend? How about printing it in a magazine? A newspaper? TV show? Radio program?

          If it's infringement for one, it's infringement for all. If so, commercial law triumphs basic freedom to speak. The commerce-based society Poul and Kornbluth's "The Space Merchants" has finally come to pass, where CC -- Commercial Crime --becomes the most heinous, unspeakable thing an individual can commit.
      • Re:*Bang* (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bigthecat ( 678093 )
        Anyway it isn't the same thing. They link to a torrent, which is a harmless ~10kb piece of data. What the user does with the torrent is none of the web-site owner's business, and if the data is fed through the right programs the programs can connect to another site which can give links to where it may be downloaded. But the torrent sites aren't linking to the actual files.

        It's all great that that's the way you think it should be, but the point is that these decisions are occuring now. Somehow I don't thin

      • Re:*Bang* (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Rei ( 128717 )
        > They link to a torrent, which is a harmless ~10kb piece of data

        Amusing. Do you honestly view it that way? A torrent has one purpose, and one purpose alone: getting the file(s) associated with it. What, are you going to print it out and put it on your wall?

        What you said is like claiming "Oh, I just purchased and installed a bulk emailing tool, and bought a list of a million emails, but I had absolutely no intent to send spam... you see, this tool and the email list aren't themselves spam, they're j
  • He only gave LINKS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:12PM (#11504796)

    He only provided the links and didn't host any of the files? What a sad day for freedom on the net. Soon it will be a crime to link to bittorrent or eMule's respective homepages.
    • Maybe. Let's see what Google has to say.
    • He only provided the links and didn't host any of the files? What a sad day for freedom on the net.

      What is sad about it? Before the net came along, purposefully going out and helping people do things that were wrong or against the law was considered to be a bad thing to do.

      I see this as completely orthogonal to any issues of freedom on the net.

      • by Catbeller ( 118204 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @02:09PM (#11505570) Homepage
        Robbing the state of California of untold billions of dollars, as Enron did, was illegal. I see the White House covering for them, prosecution nearly nonexistent, the governor who opposed Enron ousted from office by the White House and replaced with an Enron supporter selected by the White House.

        Point to a song, get nailed. Steal billions, go free, and you get to choose a new governor who's yer best bud.

        The law is an ass. Little smurfs get destroyed for disobeying laws bought by rich men, and rich men steal billions without consequence. The trouble with stupid, mean little laws is that people lose respect for the institution after observing such service for the wealthy and torture for the small.
        • by That's Unpossible! ( 722232 ) * on Friday January 28, 2005 @03:22PM (#11506554)
          I see the White House covering for [Enron]

          You do? Where?

          prosecution nearly nonexistent

          Come again? [chron.com]

          the governor who opposed Enron ousted from office by the White House and replaced with an Enron supporter selected by the White House

          Do you have proof that this replacement is related to Enron, or is this just causation without correlation?

          Steal billions, go free, and you get to choose a new governor who's yer best bud.

          Which of those that stole billions are "going free"? They are either already sentences, awaiting sentencing, or awaiting their trial. Trials take time, especially in humongously complex cases like this one.

          The law is an ass. Little smurfs get destroyed for disobeying laws bought by rich men, and rich men steal billions without consequence.

          I find it humorous that you are comparing US law, which is prosecuting the Enron hustlers you are referring to, with Norway's law, which is doing the "smurf destroying."
    • The world wide web is named for its nature of being connected through links. It just doesn't seem quite 'fair' to only prosecute one person in the chain or web for linking. One might argue that you can take down the 'source,' effectively breaking the chain. But by this reasoning, the distributors of the media should be the ones prosecuted; not any linking sites. Search engines such as Yahoo or Google definately become an issue. Napster(the filesharing service) had a search engine..
      • You make a good point - what if I do a google search and come up with the same link as the person who was prosecuted for this. Whould google be responsible for compensation to the RIAA? And how in the world are you going to filter out all the 'legal' and 'illegal' content links for literally trillions of urls?

        I don't think this will hold up in the long run - because it seems like all these lower court rulings are stupidly attacking the very fabric of the internet itself - instead of focussing on the real
    • by DaHat ( 247651 )
      At least in the US, the courts have ruled that with this kind of logic in the 2600 case when they were linking to DeCSS source code that was not on their own servers.
      • by Pharmboy ( 216950 )
        Yet, no one prosecuted The New York Times when they published links to the same material here [nytimes.com]. (reg. req.) and it was the same information. (except now 2600 took down the links that were showing before)

        I guess it shows that its only illegal if you don't have lots of money and lawyers. So no, the US courts have only shown that Money = Justice once again, at least when it comes to free speech.
    • by reallocate ( 142797 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:53PM (#11505320)
      Not sad, unless you like helping criminals.

      He linked to illegally copied files. That means he told people where the illegal files were and enabled them to acquire them.

      Except for the technology, this is equivalent to knowing where stolen property is being sold, directing traffic to it, and helping people carry away their new purchases.

      The problem isn't the technology or the Internet of the freedom to use it. It is the wilingness of a lot of people to break the law.
      • "directing traffic" is close...but it is more passive than active

        "helping people carry it away" is just imaginative fiction; might as well say "help them carry it away, kill the owner, desecrate the remains, then make soup from the carcas", 'cause if you are going to fabricate a strawman, might as well *really* fabricate.
    • You know, my first reflex when reading this story was the Slashdot mob mentality: "He was only linking!"

      But after reading the replies to this post, I had a change of heart. To steal one of the badly-construdted, not-really-applicable real-life analogies from this story, let's say I was pointing people to a computer store selling illegal MP3's. Telling one person isn't illegal, but realistically neither is giving a friend a link to an MP3 file. Putting up a billboard, or a large website with a search eng

    • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @03:57PM (#11507011) Homepage Journal
      What about this: What if I put up a website dedicated to aid in tracking down copyright infringers? People who noticed a site hosting copyright infringing material could write a short report consisting of the host website and a link to the infringing material as proof. Then, they wait for the police to take down the infringing websites. And if other people happen to use my website to download illegal content, would it still be my fault? After all, the website is just there to aid global law enforcement.
  • by pstreck ( 558593 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:13PM (#11504814)
    I'm all for free information exchange, but if the copyright holder want's compensated for it that's his/her choice. We must learn to work with the artists and record industry, along with the movie industry and others, instead of against them. We have our rights and so do they. So can we stop complaining about this and start coming up with productive solutions to media rights and drm.
    • Under what system of rights does a guy get clobbered for having a link to material?

      Here's the problem as I see it. For the most part we mere citizens have no rights at all as far as copyrighted material goes. Protection schemes are making it impossible for me to exercise my right to make archival copies. Bittorrent services are being brought down, even though they're the best damn way to distribute large files like Linux ISOs. Now you can't even have a link to music? Explain where exctly my rights are
    • by baudilus ( 665036 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:21PM (#11504914)
      You are correct in that the copyright holder has the right to seek compensation for his/her work, but they don't have a right seek it from people who aren't using their work. Imagine getting sued by the RIAA because you told a few friends where they can find a guy selling bootleg CDs... that's just plain stupid. Go after the bootlegger, by all means, but you can't really go after someone for KNOWING the bootlegger; that is frivolous.
      • It's an issue of intent. The court did not rule that it is illegal to link to copyrighted material. It is still legal to link to copyrighted works that are published legally.

        The court found that the uploaders of the MP3s were effectively making an unauthorized performance. The guy publishing the links knew that the original upload was illegal. He thought, "it's nice that they are 'performing' via the Internet - I'll try to get them a bigger audience by making more people know about the 'performance'." He w
    • by eln ( 21727 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:22PM (#11504922) Homepage
      Hi,

      You would have a valid point if this guy had actually been hosting the content, but he was only LINKING to it. The idea that someone can be held responsible for the contents of pages that he links to can, if adopted by other countries outside of Norway, destroy the very nature of the World Wide Web.

      The Web is, at its core, a mesh of interlinked pages. Pages that you control link to pages that you do not control. What if I linked to an innocuous site that was later hijacked and used to host kiddy porn? Should I be arrested? Am I to be held responsible for a site I have no control over changing its content just because I linked to it?

      This decision has enormous implications for the future of the Web in Norway, and all of those implications are bad.
      • In Germany, implications are already there (link to German language synopsis) since long [uni-muenster.de].

        CC.
      • by Rei ( 128717 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:50PM (#11505276) Homepage
        Yeah, but what were the links like? I mean, intent is pretty darn easy to prove if the links were, say:

        Metallica - Enter Sandman [link.to] (note: not a real link)

        Now, if the links were, say:

        My friend Jeff's music collection [link.to] (note: not a real link) ... he might actually have an argument. Now, illegal data on Jeff's machine, especially in the top level directory, was found timestamped from before the linker made the link, "plausible deniability" would be a much harder argument to make. One could try ("Jeff asked me to add the link, so I did... I never actually visited it myself"), but I don't think you'd be believed.

        You know, its kind of funny... a lot of people, on threads like this, seem to be of the impression that there should be some magical "get-out-of-trouble-free" card in the legal system that lets you encourage the spread of copyrighted material at will. While I strongly disagree with current copyright law, the notion that the legal system is going to do anything to accomodate you in that goal by providing you with a reliable way that you can do so without consequences is just laughable.
    • Sure... but $16,000 ?!

      How about $170? Let's be reasonable here.

    • I'm all for free information exchange, but if the copyright holder want's compensated for it that's his/her choice.

      Can't have it both ways. Copyright relies on preventing the free exchange of information.

      In this case the guy didn't even make content available, he just told people where they can find it.

      So can we stop complaining about this and start coming up with productive solutions to media rights and drm.

      The solution to DRM is not to buy any product that includes it.

      • Copyright does NOT rely on preventing the free exchange of information. It gives us the OPTION! That's the beautiful thing, I can distribute my copyrighted works and give a free as in speech licsence to it. But if I want I can charge you for it. Thats true FREEDOM!
    • Whether it's a link, or hosting he is still acting as a gateway to the pirated files. I don't think you should be allowed to link to pirated files, why should you? And the reason that a lot of the bit torrent sites are getting torn down is because it has become a haeven for pirated software. I found more torrent trackers with illegal content them on the google than I found legit. The biggest problem with bit torrent is the lack of drm. It's a neccesity now, not an option.
    • by mcc ( 14761 ) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:30PM (#11505022) Homepage
      We must learn to work with the artists and record industry, along with the movie industry and others, instead of against them.

      Why?

      Let's say I don't give a shit how much money the RIAA makes, and in fact do not generally support them or their artists because I consider music from independent sources to be superior.

      However, I do demand that I have the right to not face legal repercussions for something I type, and I do expect as a customer that if I buy a piece of audio equipment I am not restrained from exercising my fair use rights with it.

      I don't see any way to "work with" the RIAA in this situation??

      The RIAA has demonstrated they certainly aren't willingly going to compromise in terms of giving up some control over the exact nature of distribution in order to take advantage of new technology; I don't see why I should "compromise" rights I've had since birth so a music cartel whose products I mostly don't like can feel better about themselves. Saying "they have their rights" does not justify that they are using the scapegoat of digital music distribution to lay claim to new and unjust new rights, and you are apologizing for them.
      • Let's say I don't give a shit how much money the RIAA makes, and in fact do not generally support them or their artists because I consider music from independent sources to be superior.

        Sweet! Keep it up, they can't stop you from doing that.

        However, I do demand that I have the right to not face legal repercussions for something I type, and I do expect as a customer that if I buy a piece of audio equipment I am not restrained from exercising my fair use rights with it.

        I agree 100%. Linking to a fre

      • Quite true. In fact, you don't necessarily have to work with the RIAA in order to reward artists.

        I'd like to see an effective peer to peer system that uses a donation-weighed upload/download ratio. I.e., the ratio of how much data you have to upload to how much data you have to download is set at something like (TheirContribution + X)/(YourContribution + X), where X is an amount designed so that freeloaders can download as well at a reduced rate, to encourage those not even willing to cough up a few buck
    • We must learn to work with the artists and record industry, along with the movie industry and others, instead of against them.

      So, this means that we should allow them to search our persons, papers and computers without any hindrance, because we're guilty until proven innocent (private entrepreneurs do not have the money to establish their own equitable justice, so they will do it as expeditiously as possible).

      We have our rights and so do they.

      Let them start respecting OUR fair-use rights; respect is a

  • Erm? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by M3rk1n_Muffl3y ( 833866 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:13PM (#11504816)
    I thought, one was not legally responsible for content linked to and provided by others.
    • Re:Erm? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Kenja ( 541830 )
      "I thought, one was not legally responsible for content linked to and provided by others."

      Your right. However in this case he is providing the links. Just as telling someone where to buy drugs, illigal firewarms, slaves etc will get you in trouble so will telling people where to get warez, MP3s and DiVX rips of DVDs.

  • One Expensive Song (Score:5, Interesting)

    by teiresias ( 101481 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:14PM (#11504822)
    $15,900 fine / 170 songs = $93.52~

    That's one expensive song. Almost makes iTunes seem worthwhile.
  • Uhoh.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cougem ( 734635 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:15PM (#11504824)
    Will Slashgot get sued linking to a site that link(ed) to MP3's?

    And surely search engines do this?
    • mod parent up insightful. truly, slashdot and millions of other sites are inducing the infringement of copyright by linking, or implicitly linking, to other sites. right? right?
  • To be fair (Score:5, Funny)

    by Spoonito ( 849497 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:15PM (#11504830)
    The song he hyperlinked was "bjorgen bjorgen fjorgen djorgen," which everyone knows is the best song on the album and the rest is just filler.
  • Insanity (Score:5, Insightful)

    by reporter ( 666905 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:16PM (#11504839) Homepage
    What the Norwegian did is similar to me driving my Chevrolet Camaro and having my friend sitting in the passenger seat. Then, we pass by a computer store where I know that the owner is selling pirated software. I then tell my friend, "Look at that store. The owner is knowingly selling pirated software". My friend looks at the store.

    How have I committed a crime?

    • Re:Insanity (Score:4, Interesting)

      by 91degrees ( 207121 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:21PM (#11504912) Journal
      Huh?

      An analogy is intended to clarify the situation. What you've done is created a overcomplicated contrived situation as an attempt to prove an assumed argument.

      An analogy - in general - can't be used to prove anything because it is by it's nature a metaphor. i.e. a different situation.

      He linked to the files knowing they were illegal, and in doing so provided a mechanism for others to download them. He was facilitating copyright infringement. A link is more than just a line of text. It is a functional component of the internet.
    • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pstreck ( 558593 )
      It's a little different here because the norwegian is acting as conduit in providing the music files, even if they are not directly being distributed by him... Example: a guy stands on the corner of a school and a street and tells the kids they can get some crack from his friend a block down. Is that a crime? It's grey, but I sure hope he goes to jail.
      • Nice analogy, and probably about as close as we can get to the lawsuit. However, in you example I wouldn't mind the guy getting shot/electrocuted/hanged/the needle for the drugs. Mainly cause I had a friend die from ODing.
      • It is more like I walk into a bar and ask the bartender, "Where can I buy a date?"

        Now from that question, it is reasonable to assume I am looking for a prostitute, (I could just be looking for a legal escort but...) but has the bartender done anything wrong if he points to Sally in the corner?

        Besides if I do a search on Google, have they done anything illegal? Just use the search phrase "norway mp3 file" and see several that are questionable if the site owner has permission to redistribute.
    • Re:Insanity (Score:3, Interesting)

      by GPLDAN ( 732269 )
      A more common scenario - A junkie tells a fellow junkhead where to score drugs. Should he be charged under minimum sentencing guidelines for selling drugs?
    • Chage it to this:

      You are sitting at home with your friend, and then you say "I know how to steal stuff". He says okay, and you drive him to a store, he gets out and smashes the window and steals stuff. You drove him there, you can be held responsible if you don't turn him in or try to contact the police, and I'm pretty sure the Norwegian didn't try and stop anything.
  • by jephthah ( 681398 ) <jephthahg@comcast.HELLOKITTY.net> on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:16PM (#11504842)
    ...Kim Possible

    Last night's episode on The Disney Channel, showed how our hero Kim resisted peer pressure to download music without paying for it.

    Kim told her new friend that she "wasn't afraid, she just knew the difference between right and wrong".

    Way to go Disney! Being pro-active and teaching our children to repect the RIAA.

  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:18PM (#11504869) Homepage Journal
    sings copyrighted music (usually the Brittany Spears classics) in the bathroom during the morning hours.

    Can we fine him for copyright infringement or have him put away for a while? Pretty please??

  • had links to free Internet music files

    Apparently, the music files were not free at all, but simply posted on the Internet, which is completely different from a legal point of view.
  • by kevinx ( 790831 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:21PM (#11504909)
    Did they sue the people actually providing/hosting the illegal mp3s or did they just go after this guy because it was an easier target?
  • > An unofficial English translation of the Court of Appeal decision [linksandlaw.com] (earlier in the case) provided by the lawyer of the defendant and more information on the case can be found at the Links & Law Website."

    In other news, linksandlaw.com sued by the Clerk of the Norwegian Supreme Court for $1,337,455 dollars in translastion fees and $45,570,534 in court transcription fees following Slashdot effect.

    I'd link to that other news, but I can't afford to.

  • by Ironsides ( 739422 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:25PM (#11504964) Homepage Journal
    From the judgment:

    According to the Copyright Act Section 54, subsection two, anyone acting in contribution of other persons' copyright infringement like illegal publication, could be liable for punishment. The criminal offence Bruvik has contributed to would be the public performance of the files uploaded by others. In the view of the Court, the actus reus of uploading files was terminated when the music itself was made accessible. The criminal offence, as such, was thereby terminated the moment the music was published on the Internet. The actus reus is not formulated as a static delict. The Court of Appeal cannot see that the uploader, after publication of the music on the Internet, is committing a new criminal offence. The Court finds it hard to say that the music is performed publicly anew each time a transfer is conducted by persons who knew the address or clicked on a link on another site and they initiate the transfer of the files from the site of the uploader and download to their own computers.

    When the main action is terminated before Bruvik published his links to the music files, one lacks the necessary causal link between his actions and the main action. The actions of Bruvik cannot be regarded as contribution to such acts.

    Bruvik did, however, contribute, by publishing his links, to playing or copying the music files from the uploader's web page to his own computer. But this must be regarded as contribution to the action of the downloader. Such downloads for private use is not illegal, and cannot justify a claim for damages according to the requirements in the Copyright Act Section 55.


    Does the say that Downloading of Copyrighted Material is perfectly legal but Uploading is not? Continuing on the case, wouldn't this also make Google liable for linking to sites that host illegal MP3s?
    • >Continuing on the case, wouldn't this also make Google liable for linking to sites that host illegal MP3s?

      i don't think so. google is a general search - even if sites with illegal mp3s come up, it's not deliberate, with "malicious" intent. by having a linked page for specifically for music, i don't think there's much debate on what the intent of the page was.

      a bad analogy, perhaps, but if a guy publishes a list of contacts for pedophiles to identify families with children, i think thats' a crime. ge

    • You're citing the Court of Appeals judgement that was later struck down by the Supreme Court.

      So far, downloading illegally uploaded music files is legal in Norway. The appeals court tried to make the argument that the crime of making the files available had been committed and was over after the files were uploaded, thus he could not be an accessory to the crime. I guess they hadn't heard about the term "Accessory after the fact".
  • Norwegian law (Score:4, Informative)

    by halftrack ( 454203 ) <jonkje.gmail@com> on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:26PM (#11504972) Homepage
    For those wondering; the following was still true the last time I checked:

    - It's legal to aquire publically avaiable copies og music, paintings etc. (IIRC not software) for personal use. This makes downloading music from any site (or network) legal. However this law is probably going to change so that the source must be legal, (as in copyright holder agrees to publication (like radio or TV.))
    - It's legal to copy music from family and _close_ friends. Thus uploading to a P2P network is illegal.
    - It's also legal to reverse engineer legally aquired software, alter its contents, and learn from your findings.

    Some of these things may change (INFOSOC??) and som things may already have change so anyone with any updated information are welcome to correct me.
    • It's legal to copy music from family and _close_ friends.

      This is just begging to be abused. How "close" is close enough? Did we have to go to school together? My coworkers? The customer I see once a year? Someone I just met in a bar? The random stranger who also happened to have an IPod in the park?

      This is why the American Bill of Rights is a Good Idea. You don't realize just how important it is until something this brain-numbingly stupid reminds you.

  • Let's say that the student finds the money and pays off the music industry. What's going to stop the industry from going after the source of those MP3 files?!

    On one hand, it would seem odd that the source of the files are off the hook. On the other hand, it would seem unfair that the industry could double dip and get more than it lost.

    • Google: Treble Damages [google.com]

      Awarding more than has been lost is nothing new. It used in cases for willfull commision of a crime and to discourage others from commiting the offence.
      • You're right, certain statutes allow for treble damages against one party. But if treble damages were awarded in this case, they would have been awarded against the student. Since treble damages were not awarded against the student, they are obviously not relevant to this case.

        Usually when there is a loss with co-conspirators charged, they all jointly and severally have to pay the damages. My question was what will happen if the student pays it all, then charges are brought against the other perpetrator
  • by The Hobo ( 783784 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:30PM (#11505026)
    According to some old mirrors [archive.org] of his site, his name was Frank Bruvik. Also you can try to make out the mirrors, the AP article says:

    The Napster.no site provided links to music files in the MP3 format that could be downloaded for free. The site was online between August and November 2001, and provided links to about 170 free music files on servers outside Norway, the ruling said.
  • by twigles ( 756194 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:34PM (#11505075)
    Seriously, hosting a page full of links to copyrighted mp3s? Cmon, what did he think was going to happen? The community would hail him as a hero and the RIAA cartel would cower in fear?

    Do what you will with your music, and if it's blatantly or borderline illegal then shut up about it. You'll be fine.
  • Did I RTFA a little too quickly? I got to the end of the translated findings and saw that the court found in favor of Bruvik, the one responsible for posting the links. Was this overturning the original decision to the contrary or what?
  • Next up: the Norwegian phone company gets fined for publishing ticket scalper phone#s in their Yellow Pages.
  • by lune tns ( 683021 ) <iamnotadj@@@gmail...com> on Friday January 28, 2005 @01:52PM (#11505307)
    After doing some quick calculations, the actual amount he's being fined is 100,170,- (NOK).

    This is comparable to a typical down payment for a Oslo apartment, which many students actually buy while still in college.

    Minimum wage in Norway is equal to about $12.70/hr USD, and goes up by age (among other factors), so a 25-year old would be making a minimum of $19.84/hr USD.
  • by meatspray ( 59961 ) * on Friday January 28, 2005 @02:29PM (#11505840) Homepage
    Big Mistake

    You have a guy that's working hard to provide links to infringing material. (for free no less) If they were smart they would have just been watching this guys page and stamping out the owner of every link he finds. As it sits now, they stopped his linking but the files will remain.

    Now it's just a matter of time untill another site does the same thing. This puts them on the offensive paying people to go hunt down more linkers.

    Don's sue Google for linking to a page with your copy on it, thank them for helping you find it and shut down the source.... armatures.
  • by metoc ( 224422 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @03:36PM (#11506733)
    The Bourne Convention automatically copyrights everything that is published.

    Therefore everything published/posted on the Internet is copyright by someone.

    Therefore all external links are by default links to a site with copyright materials on it.

    Therefore every publisher of a web page with external links is quilty of copyright infringement by linking to a copyrighted work.

    Therefore every publisher of a web page can sue for copyright infringement unless they have licensed the work to the other party.

    The publisher establishes the fee schedule for the licensing of the work.

    So who gets rich?

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