Submitted by thewhippinpost on Wed, 20/12/2006 - 04:42.

If you have a website, blog, or even a MySpace profile containing links to copyrighted MP3's, watch out:

Record industry lawyers have been given the go-ahead to pursue you by the Australian courts.

A court ruling has given the recording industry the green light to go after individuals who link to material from their websites, blogs or MySpace pages that is protected by copyright.

Copyright ruling puts hyperlinking on notice

So, you no longer have to be hosting the MP3 - which could I suppose, be legally interpreted as theft - but just merely link to it, for you to possibly find yourself under a mountain of legal papers, plus a bill for a few thousand, no doubt too.

I don't know whether this is going to help, or hinder artists in the long run TBH: Say you're an up-and-coming artist with your first contract. You release your first CD. Of course, like a lot of artists these days, you pimp yourself on MySpace. You want your song played, heard, and bought by as many people as possible, naturally. You want to offer a taster - a free song... a loss-leader, as they say in the trade. You may get permission from the label to drop a link in your MySpace profile to an MP3.

OK, but now I come along. I love the song and want to write about it and help promote it - that's how word-of-mouth works, right? You come round my house, I say, 'Hey, check this out!' and play it - Knowing how big and ugly some of those MySpace profiles can be, I want to also offer a seperate link to the MP3...

... Will I?

Well, is it worth my trouble? Has to be my reply now, doesn't it?

Even if the MP3 has a "free-use" copyright clause, allowing anyone to link to it, I simply don't have the time, nor inclination, to read through the small print of every MP3 I wanted to help promote... and that's how a lot of people will eventually view the matter (after a few headline cases of teenage Britney fans being forced to cough-up mucho dollars, hit the press), I think.