Canada Permits P2P Music Downloading

Dec 16, 2003


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The Copyright Board of Canada has decided that downloading copyrighted music from P2P networks is legal, but that uploading files is not. The Board decided that, under current Canadian law, uploading or distributing copyrighted works online is illegal, but individuals may make a copy of material for personal use without regard for the source of the material or its copyright status. The personal use provision is applicable to audio tapes and CDs, but not to DVDs and other such mediums. Computer hard drives had never been taken into account under the allowance, but the Board deemed them allowable until declared otherwise by Canadian courts.

At the same time, the Board established a fee on all MP3 players, which is intended to reimburse musicians and songwriters for some of the money they lose from personal copying devices. The fee also applies to other recording decides such as audio tapes and blank CDs. It is expected that Canadian courts will rule on the file-swapping issue in the near future, in spite of the Copyright Board's decision. The recording industry trade associations maintain that downloading is illegal despite what the Board may have determined.