Fri, Apr 17, 2009 - Page 4 News List

Court finds file-sharing application Foxy illegal

By Sun Yu-lien, Ho Jui-ling and Chang Wen-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Foxy, a peer-to-peer file-sharing program popular among Taiwanese Internet users, is illegal because it may help users illegally download files, the Banciao District Court ruled.

Foxy Media Inc’s Li Hsien-ming (李憲明) is being charged with violating the Copyright Act (著作權法).

The office of Foxy Media, which designed and promoted the software, on Huandong E Road in Yonghe, Taipei County, was closed on Wednesday evening. No one answered the door bell and the registered telephone had been disconnected. The fax number still worked, but only produced a handshake signal.

A check at the national company register showed that the company’s operations had been suspended from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 this year.

Prosecutors say that Li had developed a Chinese-language version of the Foxy software through the US company Macsense and then posted it on the Foxy site, as well as other Web sites.

Users could download the software, which allows keyword searches for and downloads of ­music, movie, image and other files.

Li and his company have made continuous improvements to the program and added a shop to its Web site where it sold media players for files downloaded with the Foxy program. The company had also run an advertising campaign.

Prosecutors argued that the Foxy file exchange Web site and the file-sharing program violated the music copyrights of What’s Music International Inc and Universal Music Group and the film copyrights of Disney, Warner Brothers and 20th Century Fox.

Lawsuits had previously been brought against peer-to-peer programs Kuro and ezPeer in Taiwan. The suits resulted in a conviction for Kuro, while ezPeer was cleared of charges because it merely provided a way to transfer information, images, videos and text.

In November 2007, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said that Foxy enabled copyright infringements.

The organization then submitted a document to the Ministry of Education and asked that the ministry submit the document to universities. All the universities in Taiwan consequently banned the use of Foxy on campus.

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