Peer-to-Peer Copying (P2P) Introduction The Internet offers unlimited and astonishing possibilities to distribute and share

copyrighted materials among Internet users located all over the world. P2P technology is used in many corporate firms in order to share and distribute files and information between employees. Also, many music fans use MP3 format technology to listen to the kind of music they love for longer hours and with higher quality. Conversely, P2P technology and MP3 format, used in many websites, poses a high threat to the royalties (income) of artists, and the music industry, since it allows users to transmit and distribute copyrighted music files over the Internet without prior permission or fair compensation of artists or copyright owners. What is P2P Technology? Peer to peer technology (P2P) allows a group of users with the same networking program to get connected with each other either directly or through a mediating server, and to access and exchange files from one PC hard drive to another. What is the MP3 Format? MP3 format, technically known as (MPEG/Audio Layer 3), is a format developed under the sponsorship of the Motion Picture Expert Group (MPEG) and used to make music files relatively small while preserving its original quality when played. It is also commonly used to download music from the Internet. How Music Infringements Occur on the Internet? Music is infringed on the Internet when an Internet user enters into an MP3 or P2P website and downloads a free software which will allow him to create his own library of favorite music. Any user may listen to the music he has downloaded, either directly on his PC or by playing it back on his portable MP3 device. Artists and the music industry in general have suffered a great deal from copyright infringement. They have tried tirelessly to track illegal websites and to shut them down by filing suits against the proprietors of these websites for infringing and distributing music without authorization or permission from copyright holders. Two important cases illustrate this form of copyright infringement, Napster and KaZaA: A&M Records Vs. Napster In A & M Records Vs. Napster, the former sought to shut down Napster music website for infringing copyright, by running a centralized server that facilitated the transmission and distribution of music files between millions of users using its service. In a landmark decision, the US court found that Napster violated owners’ right to control public performance, distributing their music without authorization.

Buma/Sterma Vs. KaZaA In Buma/Sterma Vs. KaZaA, the court of first instance in Amsterdam found that KaZaA has infringed the right of various artists by offering software that allows the Internet users to download music files protected by copyright law. KaZaA appealed the decision to the court of appeal on ground that KaZaA operated no central server and could not stop copyright infringement from taking place on the Internet. The expert opinion appointed in this case supported KaZaA’s argument; consequently, the court decided that KaZaA did not infringe copyright law by including a P2P software in its website, and quashed the decision of the first instance. Tips for Protection A number of tactics may be employed to protect you or your website from infringement: A. For Website Proprietors 1. If you are an owner of a website that offers music, make sure to obtain a proper license from copyright owners, and do not use a centralized server through which users may share music files. 2. If you want to protect your music files from being copied without your permission, use digital watermarks, digital envelope, and streaming technologies. 3. Limit your liability for infringement by incorporating in your website agreement a proper copyright policy, and include a clause that would protect you from any form of copyright infringement. 4. If you collect any type of data from users, include in your website a privacy policy to stress the importance of the privacy of users, and mention the technological measures you employed in your website to protect this privacy. B. For Users 1. If you wish to download an MP3 software from a certain website, make sure to read the license and website agreement, and abide by the restrictions or limitations posed by this agreement. 2. If you wish to link your website to an MP3 website, do not link your website unless you obtain the permission of the website proprietor, and make sure that the website owner is licensed or permitted to distribute the music over the Internet. The Future of Copyright The speed in which technology moves and changes vis-à-vis the law is quite rapid and unprecedented. It appears that technology will not stop developing and new forms of copyright infringement will occur on the Internet; thus, the present challenge before copyright laws is to meet the rapid changes in technology. By Rami Olwan E- Commerce Legal Consultant, AGIP