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Business News (more headlines) 03-29-2002

KaZaA Beats Music Industry

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AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands-- The Dutch company KaZaA BV obtained an important victory over music copyright organization Buma/Stemra today. The Court of Appeals in Amsterdam reversed the verdict of the District Court of Amsterdam of November 29, 2001. The District Court had ruled that KaZaA BV was liable for copyright infringement and that the company had to take "such measures" to terminate these copyright infringements. Now the Court of Appeals rules as follows: "KaZaA rightfully appeals the ruling of the District Court, where it stated that as a preliminary issue KaZaA acts contrary to copyright law. In so far as any infringing use is being made by the means of KaZaA, these acts are committed by its users, not by KaZaA."

The ruling of the Court of Appeals is an important step forward in the development of the Internet. It is clear from the judgment that developers of technology cannot be held liable for what others do with it. Users of the KaZaA program are able to share files via the Internet, including copyrighted files. As a result thereof, music copyright organization Buma/Stemra sued KaZaA BV for copyright infringement.

The Court of Appeals states: "It is not correct that (...) KaZaA's computer program may exclusively be used for downloading copyrighted works." "This is not only an important victory for KaZaA, but for the entire Internet," says KaZaA BV CEO Niklas Zennstrom.

The practical meaning of the ruling for KaZaA BV remains to be seen. As a result of the earlier judgment of November 2001, KaZaA BV was forced to sell its most important business assets. "I have received this verdict with mixed feelings. Surely, it comes too late for KaZaA BV. Hopefully, organizations such as Buma/Stemra will come to their senses and stop these legal battles against peer-to-peer file sharing technologies," adds Niklas Zennstrom.

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