A bit over a week ago, TorrentFreak reported that Finnish police raided the home of a file-sharing suspect and took a 9 year old girls Winnie the Pooh laptop at the request of CIAPC, the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre, who acted on the behalf of Warner Music, because she tried to download one album of a local musicians music. The album she tried to download didn’t actually end up working, so she went with her dad and bought it in a local store. Her families house was later raided, and her laptop was taken, by local police.
This has also been reported by BGR.
TorrentFreak sum up the events quite well in this article, so I won’t repeat it here. The record company behind this is Warner Music, which I refer to as ‘the record company’ later in this post.
I believe that this is ridiculous.
The guys at Tek Syndicate covered this in their most recent episode of their show The Tek. You can view it below. Their discussion of this starts at 29:04.
So what’s wrong with this?
- The record company sent a letter to the family demanding €600 because the daughter downloaded one album, even though the downloaded album didn’t end up working, which resulted in them going out and purchasing the album legally.
- The record company claimed €600 in damages over the download of one album, which the record companies collectively claim is a lost sale (which isn’t actually the case). Many record companies or industry organisation also claim that it is stealing, which is based on the assumption that one download of a song or album via BitTorrent or a file sharing service is a lost sale. An album from the artist in question would cost no more than €25. I believe that the record company figured that they deserved €600 in damages because they employ ‘creative’ accounting methods (or just flat out lying), though I can’t be exactly sure, as I am not them.
- The response of the record companies was blown way out of proportion in comparison to what the alleged, but not really adequately proven, offense actually was.
- The record companies don’t have any significant proof other than an IP address, which does not equate to an actual person, according to a US judge. The record company could have taken the girl to court for copyright infringement, but they instead got the local police to raid her families house instead. The record company could have chosen to get the police to raid their house because of the lack of strong evidence.
- The record company choosing this course of action has been seen as bullying. For an example of this, see the video I embedded above. It has also been seen as “mafia-like”. This article states that the father of the girl who had her Winnie the Pooh laptop taken said that he “… got the feeling that there had been people from the MAFIA demanding money at the door… .”
In summary, a Finnish girl got her laptop taken during a police raid of her families house because she downloaded one album made by a local musician.
Update: It has been pointed out on Reddit that the girl had the intent to commit copyright infringement, but because the downloaded music didn’t actually work, copyright infringement didn’t take place. Intent to commit copyright infringement is not illegal in Finland.
According to another comment on Reddit, the father said that his “… daughter wanted to try out the new songs [from] this artists (Chisu, a local celebrity) new record before she’d spend her saved money for the record. He had to go to work so he left her daughter at the computer showing a few search engines and telling her what to search to get samples of the music (didn’t specify exactly what, where and how). Later his daughter told him that ‘she found something but they didn’t work’, so they went and bought the record anyways. After that, the lawyers and the cops showed up.”