Norwegian Supreme Court will rule on the liabilty for
links to illegal MP3-Files - Napster.no
In 2001 the website
“napster.no” featured hypertext links to illegal mp3-files that were
published on other Internet pages. From the front page the users could
access another page called “Add an mp3-file” and write in the name of the
artist, the title of the song and the address (URL) of where the files could
be found. After legal threats by the IFPI, the operator (Bruvik) shut down
his pages as he had been informed that the pages could be violating
Norwegian copyright law. So on November 20th 2001 he deleted all
links to illegal mp3-files. TONO (Norway's Performing Rights Society) and
NCB (Nordic Copyright Bureau), on behalf of the copyright owners and the
record companies EMI Norsk AS, BMG Norway AS, Sony Music Entertainment
Norway AS and Universal Music AS, on behalf of the artists and the
producers, thereafter initiated legal actions by filing a complaint within
the court of conciliation. The claim set forth was for NOK 500,000 as
compensation for breach of the Norwegian Copyright Act (1961), Section 55.
The district court of Sør-Gudbrandsdal delivered a
judgement on January 22nd, 2003 which stated: "Napster Frank Allan Bruvik
represented by Frank Allan Bruvik is hereby sentenced to pay the plaintiffs
a lump sum of damages set to NOK 100,000 – one hundred thousand Norwegian
Crowners – with the additional interest rate of 12% per year until payment
is done, cf. the Interest Rate Act (1978), Section 3, subsection two."
The Court of Appeal came to a
different conclusion than the district court, which reads as follows:
"[T]he actions committed by Bruvik were not an action relevant to
copyright as such. He himself did not use the files, and he did not store or
copy the files. His actions [deeplinking]
consisted merely of reference to sites where the works already were made
accessible. References of this kind cannot be regarded, in the opinion of
the Court, as a public performance. The actions of Bruviks must be compared
to those of a bulletin board containing addresses to uploaded music works.
The linking itself did not involve a performance."
The case is before the
Norwegian Supreme Court in January 2005.
Magnus Stray Vyrje
(Attorney at law in Oslo), who
defendant "napster.no", I can provide an
English translation of the Court
of Appeal decision.