File sharing services infringing copyright: US Supreme Court

MUMBAI: The US Supreme Court, today ruled that file sharing services, such as Grokster and Morpheus, are infringing copyright. This ruling can be touted as a landmark, both in protecting the rights of music artists to be paid for their work, and in protecting online consumers.



Asia Pacific digital music companies, such as Soundbuzz, are anticipating a similar decision in the Australian case of ARIA v/s Kazaa to ensure the same protection for artists and consumers in this part of the world.

According to Soundbuzz, the court decision safeguards the future of the legitimate digital music industry and, importantly, protects consumers from privacy infringements and unethical online practices.



Soundbuzz CEO Sudhanshu Sarronwala said,"Trust in the online world is the biggest concern for consumers. We have created a safe, telecommunications-grade online environment which offers music purchasers ease-of-use, choice, security and 100 per cent transparency, whilst also protecting the rights of artists to make money from their creative efforts and performances."



"As consumers turn increasingly to legitimate online music sites, today's judgement is an important milestone in the ongoing development of the digital music business, and a reward for industry players that have established ethical business models," he added.

It seems that the tide is beginning to turn worldwide in favour of legitimate players, with a recent listing of music sites in the US ranking iTunes at number two in terms of household downloads, neck and neck with big file sharing networks such as WinMX and LimeWire.

According to Sarronwala, the hoped for clean up of the online landscape that will follow on from today's judgement will help diminish the proliferation of invasive software and covert advertising practices employed by some illegal file-sharing sites into homes.

"You hear time and time again of how illegal file-sharing sites spam you with invasive software without your knowledge, and leave you with no control over who or what is prying into your computer and into your life," he said.

Saying that the ruling will be a boost to the emerging digital music industry in India, Soundbuzz India's general manager Mandar Thakur added, "This landmark ruling against Grokster has come at an opportune time and has given a tremendous boost to Soundbuzz and its various online and broadband partners in India, who are readying to launch what will become the first "truly Indian" digital music service, which will offer well over a quarter million tracks from the entire music industry in India, plus a variety of International music from most of the major record labels globally."

"This ruling also restores 'clarity of copyright' and faith in the safeguarding of the creative process as the music industry sails seamlessly into the digital future," said Thakur

Facts and Stats:

Top music download sites in US (ranked in order of popularity)

WinMX (P2P)

iTunes (legit)

LimeWire (P2P)

Kazaa (P2P)

BearS (P2P)

Napster (legit)

Morpheus (P2P)

Real Player Store (legit)

iMesh (P2P)

Number of households downloading music from WinMX: 2.1 million

Number of households downloading music from iTunes: 1.7 million Value of digital music industry globally by 2009: $ 9.3 billion

Number of physical albums versus digital tracks purchased this year: 197 million versus 108 million

Percentage rise in individual track downloads: 148 per cent

[Sources: NPD Group Inc (US, March 2005), IFPI, Nielsen SoundScan (US, Q1 2005)]

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