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Canadian P2P Ruling Won't Halt Lawsuits, Experts Warn

by Glen Shapiro,, New York

19 December 2003

Legal experts are warning that the Copyright Board of Canada's recent decision that the downloading of copyrighted material from peer-to-peer networks is not illegal is unlikely to prevent the Canadian Recording Industry Association (CRIA) from taking similar legal action to its US counterpart, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

In its statement of levies to be collected by the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC) on the sale, in Canada, of blank audio recording media for the years 2003 and 2004, released at the weekend, the Copyright Board announced that although downloading music via P2P networks would not be considered illegal, uploading music files to the same networks would be an illegal act.

In addition to this, the Canadian Copyright Board announced that it would be imposing a tariff on MP3 players, the revenue from which would go towards compensating songwriters and musicians for lost earnings.

Speaking to CNET News this week, Michael Geist, technology counsel at Ottowa-based law firm, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt suggested that the Copyright Board's move is unlikely to deter the CRIA from its intended path of litigation, explaining that it will be just as easy for the music industry body to find uploaders.

"I don't know that last week's decision has a huge impact on (the) potential litigation strategy," he observed.

There has been speculation in the Canadian media that the CRIA plans to begin taking action against individual uploaders as soon as January 2004.

However, according to CNET News, a spokeswoman for the Association declined to comment on the speculation, pointing instead to an earlier press release, in which CRIA head, Brian Robertson announced that:

"CRIA has invested in excess of $1 million to date in an effort to educate young people on the issues of internet piracy and we will continue to do so. For the hardcore group, however, it appears that education has and will not make any impression. They are killing the music they profess to love. They should be aware that they may face legal consequences for their actions."

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