File-sharing legal in Canada, judge rules

By Christian Bauer
April 29, 2004
Many have watched the long battle dread on by the Canadian music industry and users of popular file-sharing programs such as Kazaa, Emule and many others. The large industry lawyers are finding every way to attack the user downloading music. Whether it be to preview before buying or just never paying to use the copyrighted works. This phenomena is seen through the downloading of movies, music and anything else you can think of.

On March 31, a Canadian judge, Konrad von Finckenstein, ruled that the Canadian Recording Industry Association had no right to ask for personal information about 29 alleged file-sharing users. They were very much prepared to sue for large sums of money and most important of all, make an example of users caught in the battle between file-sharing under siege by the large recording industries around the world.

Five Internet service providers were taken to court, among them was Shaw Cable, the most outspoken of the five. Peter Bissonnette, president of Shaw Communications was very pleased with the outcome. Along with Rogers and Bell. Videotron of Quebec was the only company which complied with the requests of the Canadian Recording Industry Association, although the company has interest in the recording industry.

To understand the situation a little better, one must realize the recent victories by similar organizations around the world, including the Recording Industry of Association America and it's affiliates in Denmark, Germany, the UK and most notably the United States of America. Industry lawyers were able to sue approximately 1500 users in the past for sharing songs and works protected by copyrights.

In a recent times, several children were sued as an example of how far the RIAA will go. Superbowl fans were able to see the commercial by Pepsi-iTunes where children were used as a huge corporate scheme to promote the downloading of music, legally. The general theme of the commercial was "I don't" they say. "I will still continue downloading". Unfortunately for Apple, the statement backfired in a show by enthusiasts making a clear message that using children to fight this battle will not get you far at all. You may view the original Superbowl advertisement at apple.com.

On similar occasions, the Movie Picture Association of America (MPAA) has made similar attacks on users allegedly sharing copyrighted movies via popular file-sharing clients. Several users have been forced to pay hefty fines in the past as the MPAA has targeted certain films being shared, most prominently, new releases.

In recent happenings, large 'ed2k', or edonkey2000 link sites have been shut down one way or the other. The largest of them, ShareReactor, was shut down by Swiss police acting on the complaints of many large corporations. A small victory by the recording and motion picture industries, but a chance for enthusiasts to regroup and form even stronger links.

As file-sharing right now in Canada is legal, Canadians should be aware of the expected and most certain long thought-out appeal being prepared right now by high-paid lawyers for the recording and probably movie industries in Canada.

Canadians are proud of new found freedoms in contrast to our neighbour southward. Citing cases in same-sex marriage and the decriminalization of marijuana under Canadian constitution... and now freedom to share files over the Internet without the fear of embarrassment and lawsuits.