Are Peer-To-Peer Networks Or File Sharing Websites Liable For Copyright Breaches?

Submitted By MooonlightPm1
Words: 1561
Pages: 7

Are peer-to-peer networks or file sharing websites liable for copyright breaches? Or it is users duty not to infringe copyright law?

Since we are living in digital era everyday a new digital technology has introduce to it’s users .One of these technologies which has varied the way people use electronic products is peer to peer networks and file sharing sites. They allows users to watch clips and movies, listen to the music, read EBooks or even sometimes download any of these products free of charge. While some people believe the advent of file sharing sites such as BitTorrent, 4shared,YouTube, megaupload, etc. are beneficial and it helped the society others said it has weakened the copyright and it arise tension amongst copyright holders. File sharing sites and peer-to-peer networks has long been a debated issue since they have been initiated. The question is whether these kinds of sites or networks are liable for breaching copyright or it is the people who are uploading the files duty not to infringe copyright law. Although file-sharing hosts refused that they are liable for breaching copyright law and blaming the users for this matter, however it is clear that they are the first place respondent regarding copyright infringement. Therefore, the users who uploaded the unauthorized files and materials can be seen in the second place.1

There are some reasons why the first respondents for breaching copyright are file-sharing holders. They are encouraging their user infringing copyright by financing, programming and administrating their websites. As they are administrating their websites so, despite of they always denied that, they have the ability to monitor or control how users of their sites exchange files. They always claim that due to the enormous number of users of their sites and services they are not able to control the files which are exchange over their sites, they also state that they have put the information about copyright in their websites which is true but actually it’s not practical as the users might be not enough educated about copyright and aware of copyright breach consequences. Accordingly, if the users know that they will be monitored for the files that they have upload, they didn’t put up the files, which they haven’t got the authority of. Sharing unauthorized files such as music, movies, software, etc. leads to losing vast revenue for the industries who have holding the copyright permission.2
This begins when in June 1999 Shawn Fanning a Boston’s Northern university student has released Napster, which is the first file sharing service. Because the service is intuitive and easy to use and also have a large amount of music, it has increased the number of its users up to 30 million in first year. Not long after this success the legitimate problems started. In December 1999 the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued Napster for “ contributory” and “vicarious” copyright infringement. In 2001 finally the court came up to a decision that Napster was liable for both charges. They have to shut down the site, as they are not able to filter the files through the Internet.3
It seems that not only the file-sharing hosts believe they are not responsible for copyright infringement, but in some cases which are a few other people have the same idea. For instance, in August 2004 a court in the United States found that the two distributors, Grokster and StreamCast Networks, which offers the Morpheus file-sharing service, are not liable for aiding copyright infringement because they do not have the ability to monitor or control how users of their software exchange files. 4
However there are a lot more examples, which prove that the file-sharing hosts are the first one who are liable for copyright breaches.
“In 2009, the four Swedish founders of the well known free file sharing website “Pirate Bay” have been sentenced to a year in jail and a 2.7 million euro fine for breach of copyright.”5