Taiwan's music industry has lost a landmark ruling against a local peer-to-peer site.

Taiwan's music industry has lost a landmark ruling against a local peer-to-peer site.

In the first case of its kind to be decided in Taiwan, the Shihlin District Court in Taipei today (June 30) found EzPeer not guilty of infringing copyright law.

In handing down its ruling, the court said that EzPeer could not be found guilty because there was no clear law against P2P services.

The case began in July 2002 when the Taiwan chapter of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry filed a complaint with the criminal investigation bureau alleging EzPeer's copyright infringement.

A criminal case was subsequently filed by prosecutors in December 2003 with legal arguments finally coming to a close on June 6 this year.

This case is the first against a P2P site here; another ruling against rival service Kuro is expected be handed down in September. Both services charge $3 for monthly access to their software and networks.

The industry fears that this decision sets a dangerous precedent for the Taiwan music industry, which had been hoping for a favorable court result to shut down the P2P services.

"The judge should take responsibility for this," said Robin Lee, CEO of IFPI Taiwan. "They can't just say that because there's no law against peer-to-peer, they can't rule against a peer-to-peer service."

The verdict is expected to be appealed.

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