In May, the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (CIAPC) and the Finnish branch of the music industry group IFPI announced that they had filed a lawsuit at the District Court in Helsinki.
The groups demanded that Finnish ISP Elisa should censor The Pirate Bay to protect the copyrights of their members. Elisa, however, refused to do so and described the blocking demands as ‘unreasonable’. But following a decision today from the Helsinki District Court they are left with no choice.
The court sided with the entertainment industry and ruled that Elisa should block access to The Pirate Bay before November 18, or face a 100,000 euro fine. Aside from various domain names, the court ruling also states that the ISP has to block access to the IP-addresses used by The Pirate Bay servers.
In a response to the ruling Elisa immediately announced that it will appeal the District Court’s decision. The ISP claims that among other things, the ruling is very unclear as it doesn’t state the specific domain names or IP-addresses that should be censored.
Elisa further says that the decision is practically irrelevant in the broader fight against online copyright infringement.
‘The industry should focus on measures that can truly reduce piracy in practice, such as making content available online at a reasonable price and without artificial delays,’ Elisa’s Henri Korpi said.
The Pirate Bay is currently listed as one of the 50 most-visited websites in Finland, and it is doubtful whether a blockade by Elisa will have much of an effect.
A Pirate Bay spokesperson told TorrentFreak there are many ways to circumvent such censorship attempts, and that the order may actually have the opposite effect to what was intended.
‘Blocks in other countries only boosted our traffic numbers, so we see this as free advertising,’ we were told.
Earlier this month Belgian ISPs Belgacom and Telenet were hit with a similar verdict, limited to blocking the Pirate Bay’s domain names. This blockade went into effect a few days ago but The Pirate Bay informs TorrentFreak that they haven’t seen a significant drop in traffic from Belgium.
In addition to Belgium, the popular BitTorrent site is currently censored in Ireland, Italy, Turkey and Denmark. An attempt to establish a similar blockade in The Netherlands failed last year because there was no evidence that the majority of an ISPs’ users are infringing copyright through The Pirate Bay.
Helsinki Court of Appeal Convicts File-Sharer
August 17, 2009, by enigmax 0
The Helsinki Court of Appeal has upheld the earlier decision of a regional court when it found a man guilty of file-sharing. The punishment stands at 3,000 euros for sharing more than 150 albums.
The man from Finland was earlier accused of sharing music files totaling 768Mb on the Internet – around 164 albums. A search of his computer turned up 1,850 tracks which had been downloaded from unauthorized sources.
In February 2008, the Porvoo District Court found the man guilty of copyright infringement and ordered him to pay approximately 3,000 euros in fines.
However, the man disagreed with the verdict and took the case to appeal. In his defense he admitted that illegal sharing had taken place from his computer and although it wasn’t him who was responsible, he was aware of it. Not a particularly wise move.
The Court of Appeal decided that his explanation wasn’t credible, and instead found him personally responsible for the copyright infringement which took place from his computer, upholding the decision of the original court and fining him 3,000 euros.
Here is some interesting news, finally! )
Finn turns to ECHR after prosecution for discussing DRM cracking: “A Finnish man has asked the European Court of Human Rights to defend his right to discuss encryption systems used by the entertainment industry. He says that Finland’s implementation of the EU’s Copyright Directive restricts his right to free speech.”
(Via OUT-LAW News.)
While some European countries block the illegal content (mostly child pornography websites), other are considering implementing a similar measure through a hidden list.
However the past month has shown, one more time if necessary, that usually the list of any blocked content will leak and thus the allegedly blocked content will become widely available.
Belgium is one of the new countries considering such a list. The Minister of Enterprise and Administrative Reform, Vincent Van Quickenborne, wants to ban child pornography on the Internet through a protocol between ISPs and the Government. The protocol might extend to other illegal sites, such as hate and racism websites or Internet fraud.
The federal police special division Federal Computer Crime Unit (FCCU) confirms that it detects yearly 800 – 1000 child pornography websites hosted in foreign countries and the court procedure to block those sites is rarely used since it is too burdensome.
The Flemish League for Human Rights (Liga voor Mensenrechten) has criticized the project underlining that ‘ the decision to block websites must remain under exclusive authority of the judicial branch. It is unacceptable that the police gets a wild card to block certain websites at will.’
The legal framework already exists in Belgium, but Minister Van Quickenborne wants a more flexible mechanism that can be used more quickly to effectively block websites. It seems that the police will get the authority to compose the blacklists of to be blocked websites, without any legal safeguards or external oversight mechanisms. The fact that FCCU admits right away that this practice should also be applicable in other cases, makes the whole practice very worrisome.
The practice of the hidden lists of illegal websites is not new. But in the past month, we’ve seen at least 3 major blacklists become public, thus becoming irrelevant.
The blacklist operated by the Danish child pornography filtering system (3863 blocked URLs) leaked on 23 December 2008 and is available in full online.
Only a few days before the Thailand’s blacklist made by the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology that blocks access to websites deemed unsuitable for the Thai people become available on the Internet. (1203 websites). The list included hundreds of YouTube videos (including Hillary Clinton’s campaign videos) as well as blogs, cartoons, Charlie Chaplin videos and an article in the Economist magazine banned for criticising the Thai king.
In the same period Wikileaks published the Finnish Internet censorship list. The Finnish National Bureau of Investigation has requested executive assistance from United States, but it is not known what precisely has been requested – whether the concern is only removing the list or whether they are trying to find out who leaked it. The list still includes the critical Finnish anti-censorship site lapisporno.info.
Gunman kills nine at Finnish school: “Killer dies from self-inflicted gun wounds day after he was questioned by police over YouTube footage”