The 7 Habits of Highly Effective… Pirates?

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In an effort to tackle online piracy, Lithuania has been issuing €140 fines to online pirates, catching several dozen people in the first few months. These early targets were mostly movie pirates on private trackers. However, a recent announcement revealed that audio copies of the classic self-help book "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People" are being watched too.

7 habitsLast summer, Lithuania amended its Code of Administrative Offenses, allowing media watchdog LRTK to fine pirates, without going to court.

This legislative change is the latest attempt to deter piracy in the European country. The potential fines should make pirates reconsider their habits, the thinking was.

Tracking Torrent Trackers

Over the past several months, dozens of fines were handed out. The targets were first-time offenders and all received the minimum fine of 140 euros. For repeat offenses, fines can potentially reach 600 euros.

The early fines were almost exclusively issued to users of the private torrent tracker Linkomanija for sharing pirated films. However, the authorities have cast their net wider than that, a recent update shows.

According to LRTK’s latest information, it’s also keeping an eye on users of ‘private’ torrent tracker, This site was once among the twenty most visited websites in Lithuania and still has a dedicated user base.

A €140 Lesson

Three of’s users were caught illegally sharing an audiobook of self-help classic “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” written in 1989 by the late Stephen Covey.

The book promises readers “powerful lessons in personal change” but whether the trio managed to improve their lives isn’t clear. They were certainly not very effective as pirates, however, as the book came at a cost.

LRTK hopes that the fine will offer a powerful lesson too. Since the audiobook pirates were all first offenders, who eventually apologized for their torrenting habits, the lowest possible fine was deemed sufficient.

“Since the identified persons were sincerely sorry for the offense committed, they were fined 140 euros, which they will have to pay to one of the collection accounts of the State Tax Inspectorate,” the media watchdog writes.

The print version ‘7 Habits’ book was originally published by Free Press, which wasn’t involved in the process. Instead, the enforcement action was taken on behalf of a local rightsholder, the Lithuanian Audiosensory Library.


More ‘effective’ pirates may use tools to hide their IP-addresses from tracking companies but, thus far, LRTK has had no trouble identifying potential targets.

Although the catch rate is relatively low, and the fine somewhat modest, the watchdog hopes that its enforcement efforts will encourage change. In any case, it doesn’t plan to stop its fining campaign anytime soon.

“It should be noted that LRTK constantly monitors in order to protect copyrights on the Internet and reduce the scale of piracy in Lithuania,” the group concludes.


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