Even as new services like Spotify and Netflix gain traction, people are still flocking to file-sharing networks in their millions. These days people are increasingly likely to get a warning letter in the post advising them to mend their ways or face bigger trouble, but tougher approaches still exist.
While being targeted by a copyright troll must be a pretty miserable experience, being arrested has to be a lot worse. It only happens rarely and when it does it tends to affect the tech savvy 18-to-35s who grew up with the social norm of sharing files online. On occasion, however, it happens to those much older.
In 2011, a 58-year-old grandmother from Scotland was arrested and eventually sentenced to three years probation for sharing files online. However a new case in Europe has cast that earlier one into the shadows.
According to police in Romania, a 63-year-old woman has just been arrested for sharing files using BitTorrent. The raid took place in Cluj-Napoca (commonly known as Cluj), the second most populous city in Romania after the capital Bucharest.
“Following investigations by the economic crime investigation, police in Cluj…prosecuted a 63-year-old woman,” a police statement reads.
“This investigation was about the offense of making content available to the public, including via the Internet or other computer networks so that the public can access it anywhere and at any time individually chosen.”
Local police say their research revealed that the woman had been making available significant quantities of movies, music and other content without the necessary permission from rights holders. While that doesn’t sound out of the ordinary, the country doesn’t have much of a record for this kind of action. In fact, many torrent sites themselves operate out of Romania trouble free.
A source familiar with the copyright and enforcement scene in Romania told TorrentFreak that while it is indeed unusual for someone so old to be prosecuted for file-sharing, in Romania the prosecution of file-sharers of any age is “very very rare.”
“The police are doing this on their own? Never,” he said. “They only follow [pressure from] companies.”
The suggestion that complaints from rightsholders prompted the arrest is not an unusual one and Romanian media notes that entertainment company involvement in the case will continue as potential damages claims are assessed.
The lady at the center of this Romanian case is quite possibly the oldest file-sharer to be prosecuted anywhere in the world. The case that featured the youngest alleged pirate – just 9-years-old – became infamous following the confiscation of a Winnie-the-Pooh laptop.