Norway punishes operator of web site that linked to MP3 files

Out-Law News | 27 Jan 2003 | 12:00 am |

A Norwegian District Court has ruled that the operator of a web site that provided deep links to MP3 files hosted on other sites acted in violation of the country's copyright laws, according to a report by Associated Press.

Frank Bruvnik, 24, set up in 2001. The site is not connected with and did not operate in the same way. The original provided users with direct access to the hard drives of other users., on the other hand, invited users to add deep links to music stored in the popular MP3 format on other sites.

He was soon sued by IFPI Norge (the Norwegian branch of The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry), the country's Performing Rights Society, Norwegian copyright group NBC and four major record labels. The lawsuit, the first of its kind in Norway, sought 500,000 kroner (£44,528) in damages.

The Norwegian court found that Bruvnik violated the Norwegian Copyright Act, which makes it unlawful for someone to make copyrighted material available to the public without the consent of copyright owners. The court ordered Bruvnik to pay 100,000 kroner (£8,905) to Sony, EMI and Universal.

According to Associated Press, however, the court decided that Bruvnik did not break the law by downloading MP3s for his own use.

The court went further to rule that downloading digital material for personal use is legal, even when the copy downloaded was made available to the public without the copyright owners' consent.

Both sides have the right to appeal the ruling within one month.

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