IFPI Prepares IPRED Complaints Against File-Sharers

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A new law designed to make it easier for copyright holders to go after file-sharers came into force in Sweden on April 1st. The feared IPRED legislation resulted in a major drop in Internet traffic but 6 months after its introduction, not a single complaint has been issued against music sharers. But IFPI says this is the calm before the storm.

The controversial Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED) has gathered opposition from various sides, notably from much of the Swedish public. The law gives rights holders the authority to request the personal details of alleged copyright infringers so that they may be pursued through the legal system.

On April 1st the new law became active and immediately there was a dramatic drop in Internet traffic, which many observers put down to file-sharers retreating based on a fear of becoming identified.

Indeed, Henrik Pontén from Antipiratbyrån – the Swedish anti-piracy office – said he was convinced. “The majority of all Internet traffic is file-sharing. Because of that, there’s no other explanation for the decrease in traffic than the IPRED law,” he stated.

Then at the end of April, two ISPs – Bahnhof and Tele2 – both announced they would stop logging Internet activity which would seriously hamper the effects of IPRED on their customers.

But despite the massive opposition to the legislation, despite the fear, the huge drop in Internet traffic, the action of ISPs to limit its effects (and The Pirate Bay team releasing iPredator to neutralize it), so far in the battle against music file-sharers, IPRED is a sleeping beast.

Although the music industry promised to use IPRED to go after pirates, it has been a full 6 months since the legislation was introduced and so far, not a single complaint has been made against a file-sharer.

So does this mean that the feared music industry onslaught against P2P users will amount to nothing? Unfortunately, almost certainly not – they are sitting patiently for the wheels to turn in another case.

Previously five book publishers handed a request to a local court demanding information about the owner of an FTP-server where audio books were stored. Although it was a private FTP and the books couldn’t have been made available to the public, the court ordered the ISP Ephone to hand over the personal details of the individual behind the IP-address. Ephone refused, with their CEO describing the evidence submitted as insufficient. The case is under appeal.

Yesterday IFPI chief executive Lars Gustafsson told DN.se that they are simply biding their time to see the outcome of this earlier IPRED action by the publishing industry before going after music sharers, and offered assurances that IFPI cases will come in the fall.

Although there will probably not be the one hundred case promised earlier, Gustafsson still refused to be pinned down on the exact number, instead promising that the complaints will be issued “on a broad front.”


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