Last year, mass ‘copyright-trolling’ hit Sweden for the first time. An organization calling itself Spridningskollen (Distribution Check) claimed its new initiative would save the entertainment industries and educate the masses.
Predictably there was a huge backlash, both among the public and in the media, something which eventually led the group to discontinue its operations in the country. Now, however, a new wave of trolling is about to hit the country.
The companies are targeting the subscribers of several ISPs, including Telia, Tele2 and Bredbandsbolaget, the provider that will shortly begin blocking The Pirate Bay. It’s not clear how many people will be targeted but Breakit says that many thousands of IP addresses cover 42 pages of court documents.
Bredbandsbolaget confirmed that a court order exists and it will be forced to hand over the personal details of its subscribers.
“The first time we received such a request, we appealed because we do not think that the privacy-related sacrifice is proportionate to the crimes that were allegedly committed. Unfortunately we lost and must now follow the court order,” a spokesperson said.
It appears the trolls are taking extreme measures to ensure that ISPs comply. Some Swedish ISPs have a policy of deleting IP address logs but earlier this week a court ordered Telia to preserve data or face a $22,000 fine.
Jeppe Brogaard Clausen of the Njord lawfirm says that after identifying the subscribers he wants to “enter into non-aggressive dialogue” with them. But while this might sound like a friendly approach, the ultimate aim will be to extract money. It’s also worth considering who is behind this operation.
The BitTorrent tracking in the case was carried out by MaverickEye, a German-based company that continually turns up in similar cases all over Europe and the United States. The company and its operator Patrick Achache are part of the notorious Guardaley trolling operation.
Also of interest is the involvement of UK-based Copyright Management Services Ltd, whose sole director is none other than Patrick Achache himself. The company is based at the same London address as fellow copyright trolling partner Hatton and Berkeley, which previously sent cash settlement demands to Internet users in the UK.
In addition to two Zentropa titles, the movies involved in the Swedish action are CELL, IT, London Has Fallen, Mechanic: Resurrection, Criminal and September of Shiraz. All have featured in previous Guardaley cases in the United States.