In the first case of its kind, an Australian court has ruled that an internet service provider cannot be responsible for illegal downloading. The decision had the potential to impact internet users and the internet industry profoundly as it sets a legal precedent surrounding how much ISPs are required to do to prevent customers from downloading movies and other content illegally in Australia.

    “iiNet is not responsible if an iiNet user uses that system to bring about copyright infringement … the law recognises no positive obligation on any person to protect the copyright of another,” Justice Cowdroy said.

Read more at theage.com.au.

The French legislature has passed its controversial anti-P2P “three strikes and you’re off the Internet” law for a second time, after a constitutional court found the first version unacceptable. France’s long talked-out law to kick repeat copyright infringers off the Internet. However the French government department that examines the data privacy implications of new legislation is refusing to sign off on the country’s tough new “three strikes” law until it gets more information about what data will be retained… and how. Read more here…

If nothing else, the copyright infringement trial of The Pirate Bay Four in Sweden is turning into an entertaining spectacle according to PCWorld. For courtroom drama, it’s got it all: Irreverent defendants joking with prosecutors; rabid anti-copyright proponents with megaphones; a hacked recording industry Website; and even a cool pirate bus parked outside the court.

What’s more there are claims in the Swedish newspapers that this is the first trial whereby the defendant is ‘twittering’ updates during the trial. To follow the feed go here 🙂

It’s been pretty hot in Stockholm… although not from the weather averaging at around minus 5 degrees for the last week or so 😉

Of course I’m referring to Pirate Bay. There has been a whole load of demonstrations outside of the Stockholm courthouse this week concerning this case. The Pirate Bay was launched in 2003 and quickly established itself as the world’s most high profile file-sharing website. In February 2009, it reported 22 million simultaneous users. Read detailed report (Swedish).

There are four men that run this service who had been charged with conspiracy to break copyright law in Sweden. The Pirate Bay’s servers themselves do not store copyrighted material but offer links to the download location of films, TV programmes, albums and software. The Pirate Bay’s founders are often referred to by the users as merely libertine librarians, because they only provide a directory of copyrighted material and do not host the files themselves.

On Tuesday this week half of the charges levelled at the founders of the Pirate Bay file-sharing site have been dropped relating to “assisting copyright infringement” leaving the lesser charges of “assisting making available copyright material” on trial day two.

Now’s just waiting for part 2 😉