In 2019, Danish citizen Anni Pape took to Facebook, pleading for help after being accused of downloading and sharing a pornographic film using BitTorrent. Two years later she has cause to celebrate after a court in Denmark threw out the case because the plaintiffs had no right to sue. The defendant believes the victory undermines the plaintiff’s entire business model.
Like thousands of other Danes, she had received a demand for cash settlement on the basis she had downloaded and shared pornographic content online using BitTorrent.
“HELP! Are there others who are being sued for having illegally downloaded and shared pornographic films and have to pay 7,500 (US$1,226) to the law firm Njord? And maybe 15,500 (US$2,535) in legal costs!” she wrote.
Pape explained that she had been summoned to appear at the court in Lyngby because the law firm claimed that her IP address had been observed sharing the movie “Big Tits Only”. Making matters worse, she said that her daughter, who lives somewhere else, had also received a similar demand, alongside claims that she had downloaded “Amazing Girls Orgasm” and must also pay the same amount.
“We do not download illegally – and not porn movies at all,” Pape wrote, horrified at the explicit nature of these movie titles.
NJORD Law and Cyprus-Based MIRCOM Strike Again
That these two companies are involved in yet another copyright troll lawsuit in Scandinavia is no surprise. Thousands of similar demands have been delivered through the mail to Internet bill payers right across the region but after a relatively trouble-free run, the authorities are now deeply involved.
As recently reported, NJORD Law and partner lawyer Jeppe Brogaard Clausen are now facing charges of serious fraud related to their work with both MIRCOM and Copyright Management Services (CMS), two copyright-troll middle-man companies that have targeted Internet users around Europe in similar schemes.
The prosecution of Clausen and his company is being carried out by the State Prosecutor for Serious Economic Crime (SØIK), which says that the entities fraudulently extracted 7.5 million kroner (US$1.22 million) from their targets. NJORD denies the claims but as the case against Pape shows, the campaign against Danish internet users is fundamentally flawed.
Case Thrown Out By The Court
As reported by Berlingske (paywall), the court in Lyngby has now thrown out the case filed against Pape. In common with earlier rejected cases, the court found that yet again, NJORD’s client does not have the right to prosecute these cases on behalf of rightsholders.
In an EU opinion published last December, MIRCOM was described as a classic copyright-troll outfit, with a recommendation that entities like it should not gain access to Internet subscriber information.
The problem, according to the opinion, is that while MIRCOM claims to have obtained licenses to communicate certain copyright works on P2P networks, MIRCOM does not exploit those licenses in a way that a regular rightsholder usually does. Indeed, MIRCOM is not a copyright holder at all so this type of behavior falls under the definition of an abuse of rights, something prohibited under EU law.
Case Backfires, Pape’s Lawyer Contacts SØIK
The above points were also highlighted by Anni Pape’s lawyer, Henrik Hein, who has reported the decision to throw out the case against his client to SØIK. In comments to Berlingske, he also mentions another interesting finding. The piracy allegedly carried out by Pape took place on the very same day that “Big Tits Only” was published and in advance of being registered for copyright purposes in the United States.
Also of interest is that while other MIRCOM cases were withdrawn by NJORD, the case against Pape was not. According to Pape, this was done in an “act of revenge” for making the case public.
“I think it was a sheer punishment because I made the case play out in public. The punishment for that was they then got a sentence that was worse than anything they could have expected. Their entire business model is buried and declared illegal. I see it as a double victory,” she told the publication.
Finally, comments from lawyer Henrik Hein indicate that the authorities are on the right track by taking an interest in the business model underpinning these cases. He has dealt with around 90 of these cases and according to him, several of his clients were nursing home residents “who have never had computers and where the IP address was only used to connect the TV.”
Many thanks to TorrentFreak for the breaking news.