A significant court decision on Monday in the case of Universal Music against a company that provided search software to locate MP3 files – an earlier single judge ruling was upheld by the full court.
As the Trib describes it:
Electronic Frontiers Australia, a nonprofit national Internet users' group, said the decision would "create significant uncertainty for Internet publishers from Google to your average Internet user who posts on a message board."
"If Google's search engine links to material which infringes on copyright and this material was accessed by Australians, then there is potential for legal action," Dale Clapperton, chairman of the nonprofit group, said. "What's clear from this judgment is that Australian companies have a higher level of liability than in the United States."
The Age added:
MIPI general manager Sabiene Heindl agreed that the case could have implications for search engines such as Google. "Certainly there is an argument that it could effect search engines," she said.
"In Cooper's case, he had a very highly organized website that was targeting music files and that's very different to what Google and other search engines do in a more generic sense," she added.
Heindl said the ruling was particularly significant in that an ISP was found liable. "In respect of the Internet service provider, it certainly sent a clear message that ISPs have to take more responsibility in circumstances where they're provided with notice that somebody is engaged in copyright infringing behaviour or, indeed, authorizing copyright infringement," she said.