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Online Piracy. Justice found between protection of infringers' privacy and enforcement of producers' copyrights

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Introduction

´╗┐Running head: Justice found between protection of infringers? privacy and enforcement of producers? copyrights Justice found between protection of infringers? privacy and enforcement of producers? copyrights UID: 3035066936 The University of Hong Kong Author Note This paper is prepared for Cyberspace Crime, CCST 9029, taught by Professor Dr. K. P. Chow and tutored by Raymond Chan. Abstract This study evaluates a 2006 Court of First Instance case, Cinepoly Records Co Ltd & Others v Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd & Ltd. It examined how the copyright of music producers could be infringed via P2P software and how might infringers be caught using IP trace back. The case revealed how the hurdles set up by the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance could be overcome to protect owners? copyright under the Copyright Ordinance. Moreover, it led to the discussion of whether it is ethical to upload or download free files online. Background 7 music companies (Plaintiffs, ?Ps?) conducted an online investigation and discovered 22 internet users infringed their copyright by uploading their music files via WinMX. Ps decided to sue civil wrongs against the uploaders but Ps only got their IP addresses. Therefore, they sought Norwich Pharmacal relief against 4 Internet service providers, (ISP) ...read more.

Middle

So ISPs will keep track of the connection records with the personal data of user like his name and home address as well as the time. It is possible for ISP to track an IP address at a specific time and find out who he is (What is an IP Address, n.d.). Legal Aspect Norwich Pharmacal relief To reveal the uploaders? true identities, Ps asked Ds to perform IP trace back. Ps did so by seeking Norwich Pharmacal relief against Ds. Norwich Pharmacal relief is applicable when innocent parties (Ds) are involved in the tortious or wrongful activities of others (the 22 uploaders), thus facilitating the continuation of such activities, justice may require the innocent persons to disclose full information of the wrongdoers in order to assist the victims (Ps). The court granted the relief because the judge found that the subscribers of Ds violated 3 sections under the Copyright Ordinance.[1] Since they infringed Ps? copyright and Ds were innocently involved in the wrongful activities of the subscribers as their ISPs, Ps had the right to get information of the uploaders from Ds. It is just and convenient to do so as there is no other practical sources of the data other than Ds. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, the ugly truth is that uploaders aid and abet downloaders to infringe others? copyright while downloaders deprive copyright owners of substantially their deserved gains. (Figure 1) (Figure 2) People should never attempt uploading files onto P2P as it is illegal and unethical. Uploaders won?t get money when sharing files online. While it is not beneficial to them, it is detrimental to many people like music companies, artists and composers. Since downloading pirated files is only a civil wrong in Hong Kong so more people would download than upload illegal files. However, if they put themselves into the victims? shoes, they should realize it is unethical. They should limit or even avoid downloading copyrighted files. Instead, they can listen to music through the radio and borrow movies and books from shops, library and friends. Conclusion This case signifies 3 points. Uploaders and downloaders on P2P program are not really anonymous. They can be tracked down and be sued. Courts would intervene to do justice by striking a balance between victims? loss from copyright infringement and protection of personal data. Last but not least, people should not attempt upload or downloading copyrighted files since it is unethical, even though they may not be caught easily. ...read more.

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