Criminalizations of Netizens for Their Access to On-Line Music
22 Pages Posted: 2 Jan 2005
The peer-to-peer (P2P) technology and music file sharing have generated a steadily intensifying war of words and legal actions not only in the USA but also in Korea. Despite hot debates over the Napster decision, the American decision appears to have guided the world in the wrong direction: The music industries all over the world have been encouraged to bring lawsuits against P2P networks or software rather than to negotiate and issue licences for on-line music distribution. And, also despite substantial differences among domestic statutes on copyright status of sound recording producers, judicial courts in some countries including Korea have been encouraged to hold P2P network operators and their users as liable for P2P music sharing. Strengthened protection of copyright has been made possible partly by increasing and expanding criminal sanctions against copyright infringement. Too broad or severe criminal sanctions would, however, stifle appropriate level of exploiting copyright works and consequently contradict the policy goal of copyright law itself, i.e. promoting the advancement of science and useful arts. The same risk may apply to criminalization of netizens for their access to on-line music. Especially when netizens do not understand copyright law at a sophisticated level or when they do not regard internet access to music as copyright infringement, it would be difficult to punish such netizens as willful infringers.
JEL Classification: K35
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation