Legal Eagles Get Some Tail Feathers Plucked about BitTorrent

May 27, 2024

dinosaur30a_thumb_thumbThis essay is the work of a dinobaby. Unlike some folks, no smart software improved my native ineptness.

One Finnish law firm thinks it should be able to cut one party in out of the copyright enforcement process—the rightsholders themselves. The court disagrees. TorrentFreak reports, “Court Rejects Law Firm’s Bid to Directly Obtain BitTorrent Users’ Identities.” Writer Andy Maxwell explains:

“Requirements vary from region to region but when certain conditions are met, few courts deny genuine copyright holders the ability to enforce their rights under relevant law. One of the most fundamental requirements is that the entity making the claim has the necessary rights to do so. … In an application submitted to Finland’s Market Court on March 15, 2024, the law firm Hedman Partners Oy sought a court order to compel an unnamed internet service provider to provide the personal details of an unspecified number of subscribers. According to Hedman’s application, all are suspected of sharing copyrighted movies via BitTorrent, without first obtaining permission from two Danish rightsholders; Mis. Label ApS and Scanbox Entertainment A/S. Hedman Partners are well known for their work in the piracy settlement business in Scandinavia. The company fully understands the standards required before courts will issue a disclosure order. However, for reasons that aren’t made clear, the law firm would prefer to deal with these cases from a position of greater authority. This application appears to have served as the testing ground to determine whether that’s possible under Finland’s Copyright Act.”

The short answer: It is not possible. For the long, legalese-laced answer, see the article. Why did Hedman Partners try the move? Maxwell points out settlement efforts spearheaded by aggressive third-party legal teams tend to bring in more cash. Ah, there it is. A decision in favor of the firm would certainly not have benefitted the BitTorrent users, he notes. We may yet see whether that is correct—Hedman Partners has until June 18 to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court.

Will law enforcement step in?

Cynthia Murrell, May 27, 2024


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