Australian ISP Points Out Sued MP3 Site Is Just A Search Engine
from the finally... dept
Earlier this year when the RIAA was just suing students who created local search tools for MP3s, we wondered why no one pointed out to the RIAA that a search tool is perfectly legal. In reality, it’s no different from Google. However, because the RIAA can threaten huge fines, all of the students realized it was much more cost effective to just settle. Now, down in Australia, someone is finally using the “um… it’s just a search engine” defense. This case has a bunch of problems. First, the music industry there has sued an ISP for a site they host. We’ve gone through this numerous times in the US, but the ISP shouldn’t be liable for what its customers do online. If they were, nothing would ever get done online, because the ISP would need to review all content before it could go online. Next, the ISP has pointed out that the site in question is merely a search engine which looks for MP3s online, but doesn’t actually host any themselves. They wonder if the music industry is preparing to go after Yahoo next. The lawyers for the recording industry demonstrate their ignorance of technology by saying that the site is “totally different” from a search engine because it helps people find MP3s. Right. And a search engine helps people find web pages. While I have reservations about the idea as well, sometimes you wonder if lawyers and judges involved in technology cases should be required to understand a little bit about technology before they get involved in such cases.