The Associated Press reports that leaving a copyrighted song where others can get at it with peer-to-peer software doesn’t constitute a copyright violation until someone downloads it, said a federal judge in a record industry lawsuit against college students. The Boston judge’s comments in a March 31 pretrial ruling conflict with statements, also made March 31, by a New York federal judge that leaving a copyrighted file accessible could be illegal, even if nobody downloads it. At issue in both cases is whether people who initially download or own copyrighted music are legally liable if they leave music files accessible to be shared by others. Peer-to-peer sharing services allow computer users to make files on their PCs available to a multitude of other users. Raymond Sayeg, a defense attorney representing students in the Boston University case, called the Boston judge’s finding "a landmark decision that will change how these cases go forward. …The level of proof has gone up significantly."
 

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