The Romanian music industry has claimed its first legal victory against one of the country’s file-sharers. After getting access to a Direct Connect hub in 2007 they allegedly used basic techniques to select an individual at random – who just happened to be sharing 66GB of music files.
The copyright to those files was held by members of Uniunea Productorilor de Fonograme din România (UPFR) – a music industry outfit much like the RIAA.
UPFR denies they took the large amount the user was sharing into consideration when pursuing the case, but when the individual was ordered to pay the equivalent of a $4,100 fine this week, it had clearly been taken into account. At the end of 2008, the average monthly income in Romania was just $450.
These symbolic prosecutions have become the hallmark of the music industry and it’s hoped this case will have a deterrent effect on the country’s hundreds of thousands of file-sharers, but that seems unlikely. The same approach hasn’t worked elsewhere and although this lone case has dragged on for 2 years already, it will be quickly forgotten.
Those annoyed at the handing down of a heavy fine took rather less time to issue their punishment. In common with similar traditions all over the world, the UPFR music industry website was targeted by hackers in a revenge attack. It’s not clear exactly what they did to it, but their actions caused the domain to become blocked as a malicious site by both Google and Firefox, which seems kinda fitting.