Dutch Courts Clear Internet Search Engine of Copyright Infringement in Download Facilitation

June 2004

Record Labels, Internet

A court in the Dutch city of Haarlem has cleared Techno Design, the operator of music search-engine portal, Zoekmp3.nl, of copyright violation. The charge had been brought by BREIN, the Dutch entertainment industry’s anti-piracy association. The Dutch appellate court has already held that Kazaa was not guilty of infringement in a case brought by the Dutch Collection societies, BUMA and STEMRA. Zoekmp3.nl, which appears in the top twenty of the most popular Dutch websites, has access to some 30,000 music links. In its hey-day, Zoekmp3.nl had some 50,000 daily visitors and offered MP3 music files worldwide through an estimated 200,000 web pages. The court ruled that providing links to an MP3 file did not constitute disclosure or publication of contents according to Dutch copyright law. It went on to say that what Techno Design did is not unlawful, largely because providing services or assistance that could subsequently lead to infringement and unlawful trade by third parties is in itself not (yet) unlawful. The verdict means that the portal will not be shutdown and can continue to be used to search for music on the internet, regardless of whether its findings point to music that is legal or illegal to download. According to Techno’s lawyer, Alberdingk Thijm: “If BREIN wants to do something against unlawful music on the internet, it should go after the music providers and not the search engine”. BREIN is planning to appeal the verdict.

Source: http://www.dmeurope.com/default.asp?ArticleID=1789

See the article by Ben Challis at : http://www.musicjournal.org/03dontshootthemessenger.html

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