Bring Back Napster: Supreme Court OKs Downloading Music

The U.S. Supreme Court has confirmed that downloading music from the Internet is not a violation of copyright laws.

Reuters reports that the Court on Monday refused to review an appeals court ruling that determined that simply downloading music does not meet the legal definition of a performance. The high court did not comment on its decision.

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) claimed that digital downloads should be considered public performances, thus the copyright owners should be compensated.

ASCAP based its argument on a section of the Copyright Act which states that to perform a work means to "recite, render, play, dance or act it either directly or by means of any device or process."

In rejecting that argument, the appeals court said, “Music is neither recited, rendered, nor played when a recording (electronic or otherwise) is simply delivered to a potential listener."

What this all means is that people can download music from the Internet without fears that they will be hit with bills for royalties to the copyright owners of the songs.


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