Norwegian Supreme Court finds link site owner liable for copyright infringements

March 2005

Record Labels, Music Publishers, Internet

In another case which shows how finely balanced the arguments for those who ‘facilitate’ (either knowingly or unknowingly, directly or indirectly) others copyright infringements, The Norwegian Supreme Court has ruled that a student who ran a web site linking to free digital music files is liable for copyright infringement even though third parties provided the infringing material. Frank Allan Bruvik was fined 100,000 kroner (£8,000) for ‘abetting’ an illegal act. Bruvik set up the site, (which has no connection with the famous Napster site) in 2001 as part of his computer engineering course. The site, which ran from August to November 2001, linked to MP3 formatted music files, but did not host the files itself. The Norwegian music industry, including the Norwegian subsidiaries of Sony Music and Universal Music, sued the student, alleging that his site breached copyright, and in 2003 Bruvik was fined 100,000 kroner by the district court. On appeal, however, the Appeals Court ruled in favour of the student, arguing that any copyright violations were carried out by those who posted the music, and not by simply linking to the postings. The Supreme Court has now upheld the original ruling, finding that the links had assisted people in finding the unauthorised downloads and that Bruvik was accordingly liable.


For an opinion on the RIAA’s tactics against downloading in the USA see the article and opinion ‘Woman Silenced by the Music’ by Andrew Tran :

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