Set backs for Danish and Norwagian anti-piracy groups
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Deutsch: Rückschlag für dänische und norwegische Anti-Piraterie-Gruppen
The Danish Antipiratgruppen representing the movie and music industries has recently announced it gives up attempts to sue alleged copyright infringers following several defeats in court.
"It requires very strong and concrete evidence to have these people convicted. We simply could not lift the burden of proof," stated Antipiratgruppen lawyer Mary Fredenslund explaining the group's decision.
Out of the four cases of alleged illegal downloading brought before the High Court in one year, three trials have resulted in the defendants being acquitted due to insufficient evidence. The forth trial led to the conviction of the file-sharer only because the defendant confessed the deed. Besides these cases, according to defense attorney Per Overbeck, cases against two of his clients have been dropped in recent years as well. "Antipiratgruppen has acknowledged that they can not get people convicted without either catching them in the act or threatening them to confess. (...) In practice, this means that without a confession there is no case," said Overbeck.
A recent Government report from the Ministry of Culture supports the idea that it is practically impossible to get somebody sentenced for illegal file-sharing in Denmark. According to the report, only the Internet subscriber can be identified by an IP-addresses and not the person who actually downloads the files. The courts have ruled several times that an IP-address alone is not sufficient as evidence to prove the guilt.
In one of the trials, a computer forensics investigator admitted that any ISP account could have multiple users in the same household and could have other unauthorized 3rd-party users if a wireless router was compromised. He testified that a court order might be required in order to identify the individual that actually performed the deed.
Also, in Norway, The Pirate Bay has finally a break as the Norwegian court rejected on 6 November 2009 the call from the entertainment industry to force ISP Telenor to block its customers from accessing The Pirate Bay.
IFPI, backed by several Hollywood movie companies, has earlier this year given Telenor an ultimatum to block users from accessing The Pirate Bay within a 14 day-period or face legal action and sued the company which refused to comply.
The court decision says that Telenor and other ISPs in Norway cannot be held liable for copyright violations that arise from illegal downloads and that a decision to block websites should better be taken by the Norwegian authorities.
Ragnar Kårhus from Telenor said in a statement: "it is important for us to emphasize that this case is not about being in favor of or opposed to copyright, but about whether or not it is reasonable to saddle Internet service providers with a censorship role in respect of content on the Internet." He added that in order to maintain steady, healthy revenues, IFPI and other rights holders should develop business models and services that may compete with sites like The Pirate Bay.
Anti-Piracy Group Throws in the Towel, Pirates Walk Free (7.11.2009)
AFACT v iiNet: Day 6 - IP Address Alone Is Not Enough (13.10.2009)
Norway court snubs call to block The Pirate Bay (6.11.2009)
IFPI Loses: Telenor Will Not Block The Pirate Bay (6.11.2009)