Portuguese Government uses "honeypots" to deter copyright infringers

By EDRi · March 9, 2011

This article is also available in:
Deutsch: [Portugiesische Regierung nutzt “Honeypots” zur Abschreckung von Urheberrechtsverletzern | http://www.unwatched.org/EDRigram_9.5_Portugiesische_Regierung_nutzt_Honeypots]

In an attempt to scare alleged illegal downloaders, the Portuguese Ministry
of Culture, through the General Inspection of Cultural Activities (IGAC), in
collaboration with the Portuguese Phonographic Association (AFP), has
decided to start using a so-called “honeypot”.

“Honeypots” is a term that describes sites and services set up as traps with
the purpose to lure people into downloading copyrighted files. Some
filesharers believe that some of the lawsuits of the type pay-up-or-else
against BitTorrent users partly came from such services that were actually
set up by the copyright holders themselves.

Portugal’s Government has proven the existence of honeypots. The
protocol signed between IGAC and AFP was initially meant to create a
framework for AFP to provide “anti-piracy” training to IGAC inspection
officers. As the text of the protocol was not made public, the Portuguese
Pirate Party filed a complaint to the authorities and the protocol was
publicly released as required by FoI law.

The text includes, among other things, the promotion of a honeypot scheme
where the music industry gives IGAC the right to upload tracks to
file-sharing networks, thus setting traps to collect the IP-addresses of
Portuguese file-sharers. The text of the agreement also shows that the main
purpose of the collaboration is to influence public opinion through the

The file-sharers caught through this honeypot system will then be notified
by their ISPs and may even face the disconnection of their Internet
access due to a breach of the terms of service, even without solid evidence
from the authorities. IGAC will rely on screenshots to prove
what unauthorized material was shared, a piece of evidence that can be
easily forged.

The Portuguese Pirate Party’s opinion is that the Ministry of Culture is
acting undemocratically and in favour the entertainment industry rather than
in the interest of the citizens.

Portuguese Government Creates Honeypot To Combat Piracy (2.03.2011)

We are Attentive (only in Portuguese, 20.01.2011)