A Finnish police raid targeted a nine-year-old pirate, ending in her Winnie the Pooh laptop being seized. Her crime was illegally downloading digital music from Finnish pop star Chisu via the illegal file sharing network The Pirate Bay using Bit Torrent. Her father had previously ignored a non-disclosure agreement letter that demanded €600 to settle the charges without prosecution.
As reported by TorrentFreak, the trouble all started when the nine-year-old did not have enough money in her piggy bank to buy the latest album from local multi-platinum-selling singer Chisu. Without her parent’s knowledge, the nine-year-old pirate turned to Google and eventually found The Pirate Bay.
The little girl’s father said the files resulting from the Bit Torrent download did not work properly, so the following day they went to the store to buy music. But that didn’t matter, apparently. Police were knocking down their door, waving a search warrant authorizing the hunt for evidence connected to illicit file-sharing. This “evidence” included the little girl’s Winnie the Pooh laptop.
“It would have been easier for all concerned if you had paid the compensation,” the police advised the little pirate’s father.
Cases like this are becoming more common in Europe. The Finnish anti-piracy group Copyright Information And Anti-Piracy Centre (CIAPC) sent the man a letter informing him that his account had been traced back to an incidence of online file-sharing. Aggressive companies like CIAPC combine this warning with a demand for cash-settlement to make potential lawsuits go away.
“I got the feeling that there had been people from the MAFIA demanding money at the door,” the girl’s father explained. “At that point my jaw hit the floor and I wasn’t sure if I was awake or dreaming. So the investigator suggested, between the lines, that I empty my wallet and keep my family in hunger for the next two weeks so that they could get rid of the case? What the f––… is this how it goes? I could evade justice murder by skipping Christmas this year?”
More alarming, US lawmakers are looking to Europe as a model for shaping our own copyright infringement laws. The father explains his logic for why these laws do not take into account reality.
“We have not done anything wrong with my daughter. If adults do not always know how to use a computer and the web, how can you assume that children or the elderly – or a 9-year-old girl – knows what they are doing at any given time online? This is the pinnacle of absurdity. I can see artists are in a position, but this requires education and information, not resource-consuming lawsuits.”
Fortunately, there are groups hoping to protect the average citizen against crazy copyright enforcement issues.
“It is not in anyone’s interest, that in the name of the copyright, little girls are being harassed,” vice chairman Ville Oksanen of Electronic Frontier Finland said. “This shows poor judgment, and consideration from TTVK [also known as CIAPC] and from the police.”
Pop star artist Chisu responded to the controversy, saying “she doesn’t want to sue anyone and that no artist needs this kind of media attention.”
“I hope that the matter will be resolved soon and sorry to my 9-year-old girls,” Chisu wrote, pointing them to this free music link on Spotify.
What do you think about digital music piracy? Should the law affect everyone equally or should police focus on large scale pirates like Kim Dotcom?