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File-Sharing for Personal Use Declared Legal in Portugal

File-Sharing for Personal Use Declared Legal in Portugal

Hoping to curb the ever-increasing piracy figures in Portugal, local anti-piracy outfit ACAPOR reported the IP-addresses of 2,000 alleged file-sharers to the Attorney General last year. This week the Portuguese prosecutor came back with a ruling and decided not to go after the individuals connected to the IP-addresses. According to the prosecutor it is not against the law to share copyrighted works for personal use, and an IP-address is not enough evidence to identify a person.
Wearing T-shirts with the slogan “Piracy is Illegal”, the movie industry sponsored anti-piracy group ACAPOR delivered several boxes full of IP-addresses of alleged ‘illegal’ file-sharers to the Attorney General’s Office last year.
The “evidence” was handed over in two batches and the group demanded the authorities act against 2,000 alleged pirates.
“We are doing anything we can to alert the government to the very serious situation in the entertainment industry,” ACAPOR commented at the time, adding that “1000 complaints a month should be enough to embarrass the judiciary system.”
However, a year later it turns out that ACAPOR’s actions have backfired and the anti-piracy group is now facing the embarrassment.
The Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DIAP) looked into the complaints and the prosecutor came back with his order this week. Contrary to what the anti-piracy group had hoped for, the 2,000 IP-addresses will not be taken to court.
Worse for ACAPOR, the prosecutor goes even further by ruling that file-sharing for personal use is not against the law.
“From a legal point of view, while taking into account that users are both uploaders and downloaders in these file-sharing networks, we see this conduct as lawful, even when it’s considered that the users continue to share once the download is finished.”
The prosecutor adds that the right to education, culture, and freedom of expression on the Internet should not be restricted in cases where the copyright infringements are clearly non-commercial.
In addition, the order notes that an IP-address is not a person.
The ruling explains that the person connected to the IP-address “is not necessarily the user at the moment the infringement takes place, or the user that makes available the copyrighted work, but rather the individual who has the service registered in his name, independent of whether this person using it or not”
This means that the account holders connected to these 2,000 IPs are not necessarily all copyright infringers, similar to orders we’ve seen in the United States previously.
Finally, the prosecutor ruled that even if file-sharing for personal use would be seen as illegal, the artists themselves should explicitly declare that there are not authorizing copying for personal use.
ACAPOR boss Nuno Pereira is disappointed with the decision and he accuses the prosecutor of dropping the case because it’s the easy way out.
“Personally I think the prosecutors just found a way to adapt the law to their interest – and their interest is not having to send 2,000 letters, hear 2,000 people and investigate 2,000 computers,” Pereira says.
Another way to frame it is that the prosecutor adapted the law in the interest of the public at large, which is generally speaking not a bad idea.
While the decision is hopeful for Portuguese file-sharers, it is still a matter of how the law is interpreted. For now, however, it is save to assume that Portugal is spared from the mass-BitTorrent lawsuits we’ve seen in the United States, Germany and the UK.
-TF

Kopimism, Sweden's Pirate Religion, Begins to Plunder America 'Kopimism' gives internet piracy a place to worship By Jason Koebler April 20, 2012 RSS Feed Print The symbol of Kopimism, a religion dedicated to information sharing. The symbol of Kopimism, a religion dedicated to information sharing. A Swedish religion whose dogma centers on the belief that people should be free to copy and distribute all information—regardless of any copyright or trademarks—has made its way to the United States. Followers of so-called "Kopimism" believe copying, sharing, and improving on knowledge, music, and other types of information is only human—the Romans remixed Greek mythology, after all, they say. In January, Kopimism—a play on the words "copy me"—was formally recognized by a Swedish government agency, raising its profile worldwide. [Rapidshare: Megaupload's Pirates are Unwelcome] "Culture is something that makes people feel much better and makes people appreciate their world in a different way. Knowledge is also something we should copy regardless of the law," says Isak Gerson, the 20-year-old founder of Kopimism. "It makes us better when we share knowledge and culture with each other." More than 3,500 people "like" Kopimism on Facebook, and thousands more practice its sacred ritual of file sharing. According to its manifesto, private, closed-source software code and anti-piracy software are "comparable to slavery." Kopimist "Ops," or spiritual leaders, are encouraged to give counsel to people who want to pirate files, are banned from recording and should encrypt all virtual religious service meetings "because of society's vicious legislative and litigious persecution of Kopimists." Official in-person meetings must happen in places free of anti-Kopimist monitoring and in spaces with the Kopimist symbol—a pyramid with the letter K inside. To be initiated new parishioners must share the Kopimist symbol and say the sacred words "copied and seeded." The gospel of the church has begun to spread, with Kopimist branches in 18 countries. An American branch of the religion was recently registered with Illinois and is in the process of gaining federal recognition, according to Christopher Carmean, a 25-year-old student at the University of Chicago and head of the U.S. branch. "Data is what we are made of, data is what defines our life, and data is how we express ourselves," says Carmean. "Forms of copying, remixing, and sharing enhance the quality of life for all who have access to them. Attempts to hinder sharing are antithetical to our data-driven existence." [ISPs Close to Implementing System to Punish Piracy] About 450 people have registered with his church, and about 30 of them are actively practicing the religion, whose symbols include Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V—the keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste. It's no surprise the religion was born in Sweden—it has some of the laxest copyright laws in the world. The Swedish Pirate Party has two seats in the European Parliament, and The Pirate Bay, a Swedish website that's one of the world's largest portals to illegal files, has avoided being shut down for years. Gerson is happy to allow people who want to open their own branches of Kopimism to copy its symbols and religious documents. "There's been a couple people that asked me [to start congregations], but I tell them they shouldn't ask. You don't need permission," he says. "It's a project, and I want projects to be copied, so I'm happy when people copy without asking." Most Kopimists say they realized they were practicing the religion before they found it. "There are many people who are like me, who always held the Kopimist ideals, but hadn't yet heard of the official church," says Lauren Pespisa, a web developer in Cambridge, Mass., who gave a speech about the religion in March to a group of anti-copyright activists called the Massachusetts Pirate Party. "I think some people are like me and have embraced it officially and publicly, but some people believe in it and don't really want to mix religion and politics."

'Kopimism' gives internet piracy a place to worship

April 20, 2012 RSS Feed Print

The symbol of Kopimism, a religion dedicated to information sharing.The symbol of Kopimism, a religion dedicated to information sharing.

A Swedish religion whose dogma centers on the belief that people should be free to copy and distribute all information—regardless of any copyright or trademarks—has made its way to the United States.

Followers of so-called "Kopimism" believe copying, sharing, and improving on knowledge, music, and other types of information is only human—the Romans remixed Greek mythology, after all, they say. In January, Kopimism—a play on the words "copy me"—was formally recognized by a Swedish government agency, raising its profile worldwide.

[Rapidshare: Megaupload's Pirates are Unwelcome]

"Culture is something that makes people feel much better and makes people appreciate their world in a different way. Knowledge is also something we should copy regardless of the law," says Isak Gerson, the 20-year-old founder of Kopimism. "It makes us better when we share knowledge and culture with each other."

More than 3,500 people "like" Kopimism on Facebook, and thousands more practice its sacred ritual of file sharing. According to its manifesto, private, closed-source software code and anti-piracy software are "comparable to slavery." Kopimist "Ops," or spiritual leaders, are encouraged to give counsel to people who want to pirate files, are banned from recording and should encrypt all virtual religious service meetings "because of society's vicious legislative and litigious persecution of Kopimists."

Official in-person meetings must happen in places free of anti-Kopimist monitoring and in spaces with the Kopimist symbol—a pyramid with the letter K inside. To be initiated new parishioners must share the Kopimist symbol and say the sacred words "copied and seeded."

The gospel of the church has begun to spread, with Kopimist branches in 18 countries.

An American branch of the religion was recently registered with Illinois and is in the process of gaining federal recognition, according to Christopher Carmean, a 25-year-old student at the University of Chicago and head of the U.S. branch.

"Data is what we are made of, data is what defines our life, and data is how we express ourselves," says Carmean. "Forms of copying, remixing, and sharing enhance the quality of life for all who have access to them. Attempts to hinder sharing are antithetical to our data-driven existence."

[ISPs Close to Implementing System to Punish Piracy]

About 450 people have registered with his church, and about 30 of them are actively practicing the religion, whose symbols include Ctrl+C and Ctrl+V—the keyboard shortcuts for copy and paste.

It's no surprise the religion was born in Sweden—it has some of the laxest copyright laws in the world. The Swedish Pirate Party has two seats in the European Parliament, and The Pirate Bay, a Swedish website that's one of the world's largest portals to illegal files, has avoided being shut down for years.

Gerson is happy to allow people who want to open their own branches of Kopimism to copy its symbols and religious documents.

"There's been a couple people that asked me [to start congregations], but I tell them they shouldn't ask. You don't need permission," he says. "It's a project, and I want projects to be copied, so I'm happy when people copy without asking."

Most Kopimists say they realized they were practicing the religion before they found it.

"There are many people who are like me, who always held the Kopimist ideals, but hadn't yet heard of the official church," says Lauren Pespisa, a web developer in Cambridge, Mass., who gave a speech about the religion in March to a group of anti-copyright activists called the Massachusetts Pirate Party. "I think some people are like me and have embraced it officially and publicly, but some people believe in it and don't really want to mix religion and politics."

israel-kopimia.jpeg

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