Canadian court gives mixed ruling on song swaps

A Canadian court upheld a ruling on Thursday that stopped major record companies from forcing Internet service providers to disclose the identities of 29 high-volume song swappers they have wanted to sue.
But the Federal Court of Appeal also left the door open for record companies to launch new lawsuits against Canadian song swappers, a strategy an industry spokesman said will be pursued in earnest.
“I think the court is trying to send a very strong signal that they want to ensure that privacy is adequately protected, but they’ve also made clear that they are not standing in the way absolutely of launching a lawsuit,” said Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa.
Song swappers rejoiced last year when the Federal Court of Canada ruled against the record companies, effectively protecting the anonymity of people who exchange music on the Internet.
The case was a blow for the labels, which included the Canadian units of EMI Group Plc and Warner Music Group Corp., who say downloading has caused a sharp fall in their sales.
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