The French courts have ruled that using peer-to-peer networks (P2P), providing you are doing so for personal rather than commercial reasons, is legal. The decision comes just as the French Parliament meets to discuss whether internet users should pay a voluntary tax or surcharge of €5 a month to use P2P networks.
The decision was actually made back in December but has only just been made public.
Anthony G was taken to court by lobby group Société Civile des Producteurs Phonographiques who accused him of having 1,875 files containing copyright material. Anthony was a keen Kazaa user during 2004.
Lobby group L'Association des Audionautes, which defended Anthony, said: "On September 21, 2004, the prosecutor's office found 1,875 MP3 and DIVX files on the defendant's hard drive. Based on this discovery, a French record producer association known as the SCPP (Société Civile des Producteurs Phonographiques) sued him for downloading and uploading 1,212 music tracks.
The District Court of Paris, however, refused to agree with the SCPP's argument. Following the line of reasoning utilised by the ADA for nearly two years, the Judges decided that these acts of downloading and uploading qualified as "private copying".
The association said although the verdict was being appealed it was confident the higher court would uphold the decision. ®