File-sharing infringes copyright

A peer-to-peer file-sharing website has infringed the claimant record companies’ copyright the High Court has decided. The service users who had accounts with the defendant internet service providers had infringed the claimants’ copyrights under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act by large scale copying of their recordings. They were also in breach of the claimants’ right of communication to the public. It was judged that the operators of the service had authorised the infringements by the UK users in breach of legislation and they were also jointly liable for the infringements committed by users. The judge said that the circumstances were indistinguishable from a previous similar case. By giving his endorsement to that case – in which ISPs were ordered to block the website – it is likely to encourage rights-holders to press ahead with further applications against other obviously infringing websites.

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