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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 July, 2005, 16:33 GMT 17:33 UK
Australian labels win piracy case
CD and laptop
Music piracy is a big headache for the record labels
The Australian record industry has won a major legal victory over alleged music piracy.

The operator of a site which provided links to pirated material has been found guilty of copyright infringement, reported The Age newspaper.

His internet service provider was also found liable.

The ruling means that linking to sites with pirated material, and not just downloading it, is an infringement of copyright in Australia.

In his ruling in Sydney, Australia Federal Court Justice Brian Tamberlin found Stephen Cooper had broken the law by ┐permitting or sanctioning and facilitating┐ copyright infringement through his MP3s4free.net website.

The site itself had not hosted the material, but provided hyperlinks to websites with pirated music.

The ISP hosting the site, Sydney-based Com-Cen, was also found guilty. The judge said it could have stopped the copyright infringement but did nothing about it.

The case against Stephen Cooper and his MP3s4free.net website was brought by several major record labels including EMI, Sony and Universal.

A spokesman for the recording industry welcomed the ruling, saying it confirmed linking to infringing music is illegal and held ISPs to account.

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