Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

van Caenegem, William (2000) Napster and Gnutella is distributed file-swapping software legal in Australia? The National Legal Eagle, November 2000, pp.. 9-11.

© Copyright The Law Society of New South Wales, 2000.

Reproduced with permission.



You may think that the Internet makes obtaining your favourite music cheap and easy, but have you ever considered whether downloading music files off the Web is legal. It may be that you are infringing the copyright of musicians and record labels. The Commonwealth Copyright Act 1968 grants musicians and producers exclusive legal right in musical works (scores), literary works (in this case, lyrics) and sound recordings (CD's, tapes etc.). They enjoy those rights whether the material is recorded in digital (eg as sound files) or traditional format. Recently the Commonwealth Parliament amended the Copyright Act to bring it up to speed with the digital age and exploitation of copyright works on the Internet: see the Copyright Amendment (Digital Agenda) Act 2000 (Cth). This amending Act will shortly come into force.



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