Just read this, if its already been mentioned sorry
THE HAGUE (AFP) - The Dutch Supreme Court ruled that a major Internet file-sharing service -- allowing millions to swap computer files such as music or films for free -- was a legal operation not in violation of copyright.
In a landmark decision that could have impact on intellectual property, the panel ruled Friday in favour of Kazaa, one of the world's most used file-sharing services, rejecting a suit by a Dutch copyright protection agency claiming copyright violation.
It is the first time a country's supreme court has ruled on the legitimacy of so-called peer-to-peer computer software.
The ruling said the Dutch-founded file-swapping network was legal because Kazaa was not responsible for possible illegal activities by its users.
Kazaa, like dozens of similar services that have appeared around the world such as Gnutella and Morpheus, allows millions of users to trade music, films or video games online -- free of charge.
The judges, upholding an earlier ruling in favour of the service, said Kazaa only provides the software to its clients, but that it is then up to the clients what they do with it.
"This ruling will resound beyond the Dutch borders. Courts worldwide will look to what is happening here," Christiaan Alberdingk Thijm, a lawyer for Kazaa's Dutch founders, told AFP.
Alberdingk Thijm explained that copyright law has been codified worldwide by several international and United Nations treaties. Because the copyright laws in the Netherlands are effectively the same as those in most other countries the Dutch Supreme Court ruling serves as precedent worldwide, he said.
"Chances are slim that a foreign judge will rule different on the same matter," he added.
The Dutch entertainment industry organisation NVPI said in a first response that Kazaa users would not necessarily get off scot-free because of the court ruling.
"The distribution of music, movies or games without consent of those who hold the copyright is a illegal nearly everywhere in the world. This ruling does not change that," it said in a press release.
The copyright organisation Buma/Stemra, which launched the case against Kazaa, could not be reached for comment Friday.
But despite ruling in favour of Kazaa the court did not answer the other obvious question: are users of Kazaa liable if they use the service to swap copyrighted materials?
Legal observers expect Buma/Stemra to try to bring individual users of the service before the court to sort out this question.
In the United States, the music industry has taken hundreds of file-swapping service users to court in similar cases, especially the ur-file-sharing service Napster.
Kazaa was founded in the Netherlands, but the service was sold two years ago to Australia's Sharman Networks. Because of its Dutch roots the first case against Kazaa was brought here in 2002.
Since then several suits have been brought in the United States against companies offering Kazaa software.