BitTorrent ‘Copyright Trolls’ Given Green Light By Finland’s Supreme Court
A decision handed down by Finland’s Supreme Court states that ISPs can be compelled to hand over subscribers’ personal details to rightsholders, if those subscribers are suspected of piracy. The decision, which overrules the opinion of a lower court, essentially gives so-called ‘copyright trolls’ a green light to press ahead with cash settlement demands on a scale of their choosing.
More than eight years ago, internet subscribers in Finland began receiving letters claiming that they owed hundreds of euros to companies they’d never heard of.
The letters, sent by the law firm Hedman Partners, alleged that subscribers’ internet connections had been used to download or share movies (some pornographic) using BitTorrent. Alleged pirates were given a choice – pay a substantial settlement amount to the rightsholders or face punishing legal action. This controversial business model would occupy Finland’s legal system for years to come.
Thousands of settlement letters, demanding between 600 and 3,000 euros per offense, targeted account holders, with some cases going to court. In 2015, the chief judge at Finland’s Market Court questioned whether the system had the resources to cope but that didn’t deter those seeking to turn piracy into profit.
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