Afterdawn.com and the BBC report that Norway's Supreme Court has upheld the trial court's earlier ruling and decided that linking from a website to MP3 files is illegal even when the actual MP3 files aren't hosted by or in any way associated to the website linking to them. This case concerns a Norwegian teenager, Frank Allan Bruvik, who set up a website called napster.no back in 2001 and allowed his users to submit direct links to MP3 files that would then become a huge browsable list of links to MP3 files across the Web.
By providing links to 170 MP3 files (compare this to millions available on P2P networks), Bruvik was held to have violated Norway's copyright legislation and was ordered to pay 100,000 kroner (€12,126; $15,807) to Tono, the music industry's lobby group in Norway. The ruling was identical to the lower court's original decision back in 2003, which was later overruled by Appeals Court who decided that Bruvik didn't violate any laws, but the users who put up the links, did. Tono's representative said that they were satisfied with the ruling, because it showed that music piracy would not be accepted.
The IPKat is worried about the inconsistency between different European jurisdictions in their attitudes towards linking. This isn't something the European Union can cure by itself, since countries such as Norway aren't part of it. Perhaps a WIPO/WTO initiative will do the trick. He also thinks this debate has moved on a bit. Much of the market for illicit file sharing has surely been removed by a combination of the growth of authorised sites and the fear instilled by legal actions against individual downloaders.
Merpel is more interested in how they punish naughty Norwegians...
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