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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 June 2006, 09:17 GMT 10:17 UK
Dutch MP3 search site shut down
Person listening to MP3 files
The site argued it did not host the MP3 music files
The record industry has welcomed a Dutch court ruling against a website that provided links to MP3 music files.

The Zoekmp3.nl site, run by Techno Design, was shut down after the decision by the Dutch Court of Appeal.

It ruled that the site was breaking the law by providing links to illegal MP3 files on the internet, even though it did not host the content itself.

The music industry organisation, the IFPI, said the ruling was a boost to the global fight against piracy.

Available links

The latest decision overturns a 2004 ruling by a lower court in favour of Zoekmp3.nl. It had ruled that search sites like this one did not breach copyright.

Zoekmp3.nl had argued that it did not host the content itself and carried a warning to users not to breach copyright.

It sends a clear message to others operating 'mp3 search' services that they will be held liable for the damage that they cause
Geoff Taylor, IFPI
But this failed to convince the Court of Appeals.

"Such a warning ignores the reality that the lion's share of visitors are looking for unauthorised MP3 files," said the court in its ruling on Friday.

It said that Techno Design benefited commercially as the availability of links to copyrighted material attracted more people to the site.

Faced with fines of 10,000 euros (6,819) per day, or 1,000 euros (681) per infringing file, the company has taken the site offline.

"There has been concern that Holland could become a centre of internet piracy, but this decision shows that the Dutch courts will not tolerate websites building a business out of facilitating copyright infringement," said the IFPI's General Counsel Geoff Taylor.

"It sends a clear message to others operating 'mp3 search' services that they will be held liable for the damage that they cause."

The IFPI said this was the latest in a series of judgements against so-called deep link websites which offer links to copyrighted music.

Similar websites have been found to be illegal in Australia and China.

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