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 controversial IPRED legislation contributed to a major drop in Internet traffic as many file-sharers became more aware that their activities could be traced, particularly by the music industry.
However, months and months went by without any attempt by music industry group IFPI to gain the personal details of an alleged file-sharer. Then in September, IFPI chief executive Lars Gustafsson said that the group were simply biding their time, and offered assurances that IFPI cases would appear in the months that followed.
Now, months later in December, the wait is over.
Today IFPI submitted evidence of alleged file-sharing to the Stockholm District Court, asking it to force an ISP to hand over the details of an individual behind a single IP address.
“We believe that all parts of the music industry feel best served by a combination of good legal services and good legislation. IPRED is a law with good privacy protection for citizens, but of course we will use it to protect our members’ rights,” said Ludvig Werner, Chairman of IFPI Sweden, in a statement.
However, before panic sets in among Sweden’s file-sharers, the details of the request should be considered. Among other things, IPRED aims to increase penalties and ultimately criminalize large scale infringement, so it’s interesting that IFPI have chosen their first target carefully.
Rather than go after a BitTorrent user, where it becomes very difficult to prove that one user is sharing lots and lots of music at once in order to be categorized as a large-scale infringer, IFPI has targeted the user of a Direct Connect hub instead. In basic terms, Direct Connect has a ‘shared folder’ type structure, where users are likely to share their whole music collections at once, not single albums as is common with BitTorrent.
IFPI says that it has not decided what it will do once it identifies the individual. It may go for a lawsuit, or instead chose to issue a warning.
Last week, the Stockholm District court ruled on another IPRED case, ordering ISP TeliaSonera to hand over the identity of the Swetorrents BitTorrent tracker operator to anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån, which is working on behalf of four movie studios.
This request by IFPI is the first brought under IPRED by the music industry, and the third overall.
Update: Telia has announced that it will appeal the decision.