No Dutch treat for pirates

Kazaa wins summary judgment from Supreme Court

AMSTERDAM — Tim Kuik, the director of Holland’s anti-piracy enforcement agency, Brein, says the organization will warn and then prosecute users who upload music from file-sharing software provider Kazaa.

Kazaa won a summary judgment Friday from the Dutch Supreme Court, which ruled that the ISP is not accountable for copyright violations by its users.

Judgment was issued in a dispute against the local rights holders society Buma Stema after Buma Stema demanded that Kazaa cease and desist until copyright owners licensed Kazaa to distribute their music.

“It is still illegal to upload without permission, despite the Kazaa ruling by the Supreme Court,” said Kuik. “We will have to go to court to obtain the needed information from ISPs, but we will do that, and then we will proceed against suspected violators.”

Also Friday, a U.S. appeals court in San Francisco ruled that the tactics the U.S. record industry used in identifying file swappers violated the law.

Both the U.S. and the Dutch rulings were considered blows against the record industry’s efforts to crack down on Internet piracy.

The Recording Industry Assn. of America used administrative subpoenas to force Verizon and other ISPs to identify customers suspected of sharing large numbers of music files over the net.

Kuik said the Dutch Supreme Court’s decision was the last of a series of summary judgment proceedings, but the file-sharing issue could be opened again at a lower court level in a full procedure.

The recording industry believes that sales of music have fallen by a third in the U.S. as a result of file-sharing.

Jenny Vacher, chief executive of ICMP/CIEM, the global trade body for the music publishing industry, has identified file-sharing and the belief that music should be free as among the biggest threats to the music publishing industry.

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