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P2P file sharing program installation illegal - US judge

A judge in a landmark case in Arizona has ruled (opens in new tab)that the mere act of installing a P2P file-sharing application on your computer - not the act of using it to share copyrighted files - is illegal under current US copyright legislation.

According to some sources, the precedent from the case - Judge Neil V. Wake - effectively gives the RIAA (Recording Industry of America) a weapon with which to more aggressively wage its ongoing anti-piracy campaign.

The latest court case involves (opens in new tab)the saga of Atlantic v. Howell, where Judge Wake, in a summary judgement, shot down the Howell's arguments and handed the RIAA $40,500 in statutory damages, $350 in court costs, and a permanent injunction against future copyright infringement by the Howells.

The case is being seen by many in the P2P file-sharing community as a major victory for the RIAA.

Unconfirmed reports, meanwhile, suggest that many educational establishments across the US are installing software to block P2P file sharing and so cover their butts in the event of lawsuits being files in their general direction by the Association.

Myself, although this case is a small one in the ongoing battle between file sharers and the copyright bodies, I suspect it will be seen as a milestone in the P2P legal history books...