If you think that file-sharing or illegal downloading is illegal in all countries, you are wrong. If the media companies try to convince you that downloading is wrong, they are wrong – and they have certain governments and judges against them too!
In the following countries, file-sharing is actually LEGAL by law:
In the 2004 case of BMG Canada vs John Doe, the court decided that both downloading music and putting it in a shared folder available to other people online were legal in Canada. It has led to harsh criticism from organizations like International Federation of the Phonographic Industry: “Canada, practically the only government of a developed country not to have implemented international copyright treaties agreed over a decade ago, is a major source of the world’s piracy problem. A disproportionate number of illegal sites are hosted on Canadian soil.”
Current intellectual property laws do not punish file sharing and Mexico’s intellectual property laws cannot affect file sharers because no money is being exchanged.
Peer to peer file sharing is very widespread in this North African country, especially that there are not yet laws to legislate the internet sector.
According to Dutch law, reproduction of a literary, science, or art work is not considered a violation on the right of the creator or performing artist when all of the following conditions have been met:
- The copy has not been made with an (in)direct commercial motive
- The copy’s purpose is exclusively for own practice, study or use
- The number of copies is limited
Such a copy is called a ‘thuiskopie’ or home copy. Since 1991, after appointment by the Dutch ministry of Justice exists an organisation which guarantees that artists and rightsholders get a compensation for copies of their works that citizens make use of for private use. This compensation is levied indirectly through a surcharge on information carriers, like empty CDs, DVDs, MP3 players, and from 2013 on, hard disks and tablets.
In a series of cases, Spanish courts have ruled that file sharing for private use is legal. In 2006, the record industry’s attempts to criminalize file sharing were thwarted when Judge Paz Aldecoa declared it legal to download indiscriminately in Spain, if done for private use and without any intent to profit. In a decision from May 2009, a judge ruled in favor of a person engaged in the private, non-commercial file-sharing of thousands of movies, even though the copying was done without the consent of the copyright owners. File sharing and torrent websites were ruled legal in Spain in March 2010. The judge responsible for the court ruling stated that “P2P networks are mere conduits for the transmission of data between Internet users, and on this basis they do not infringe rights protected by Intellectual Property laws.”
This week a Portuguese prosecutor came back with a ruling and decided not to go after individuals connected to IP-addresses. According to the prosecutor it is not against the law (in Portugal) to share copyrighted works for personal use, and an IP-address is not enough evidence to identify a person. “From a legal point of view, while taking into account that users are both uploaders and downloaders in these file-sharing networks, we see this conduct as lawful, even when it’s considered that the users continue to share once the download is finished.” The prosecutor adds that the right to education, culture, and freedom of expression on the Internet should not be restricted in cases where the copyright infringements are clearly non-commercial.
If you know of other countries with legal file sharing, please post them in the comments field.
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