Turre Legal

SSHH! Don´t spread the word

This morning the Tuusula District Court found that a Finreactor user had committed a copyright infringement by posting a .torrent link on the P2P network. While admitting that there were no copies made of copyrighted works, the Court concluded nevertheless that the defendant had done something ”comparable” to distributing copies. As the conviction is based on an analogy and not the wording of the Finnish Copyright Act, it is in my opinion a truly dangerous precedent.

If linking as such is can be considered illegal, the case will have implications far beyond copyright. The Court is in fact telling you not to speak the name of your Favourite Song or Movie in vain. Or, as Herkko puts it: if a taxi driver tells his passengers where the whorehouse is, it does not make him a pimp.

Herkko Hietanen
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Herkko Hietanen

Lakimies, osakas, kauppatieteiden tohtori, oikeustieteen maisteri at Turre Legal
Lakimies, jolla on 15 vuoden kokemus teknologia- ja mediaoikeudenkäynneistä, startup-yrityksistä ja IT-juridiikasta.
Herkko Hietanen
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  1. Strictly speaking, you might call the clients participating in the swarms of torrents from a given BT site ”a P2P network”, but naming that after the site where the torrents originated is kind of illogical, considering that these swarms can easily contain clients using torrent originating from somewhere else. It’s even likely that some swarms have more users who don’t even know about that particular site at all. Even if the site has its own trackers which are private, there still exists ways for clients to participate (PX/DHT) without connecting to that tracker and it’s still likely that there exists torrents with more numerous external participation, at least if the site releases high demand releases.

    So with BT it becomes a question of what constitutes the ”P2P network”, is that all BT users everywhere using the same protocol (this would be consistent with the limit of the term with other P2P protocols), users of one site, users of one tracker, clients connected to one swarm?

    The point is that calling a BT transmission entity (however large) after a website is very purposeful, it attempts to cast that site as responsible for a larger that actual, factual, part of the technical burden in providing the actual results of the peer to peer traffic. The real network is the users, not any single site or server.

  2. Thanks a lot Red_Blue for helping me realize that the copyright mafia was in fact responsible for my mistake ; )

  3. The claim that Finreactor was a ”P2P network” (direct translation) is a clear factual error of Tuusula District Court. This wrong terminology originates from the copyright mafia and their lawyers, who were supported in this litigation by Turku District Attorney Antti Pihjalamäki, who has written the indictments in all of the Finreactor cases.

    These lower courts are horribly confused about the technology in many much more important factual details and the full explanation of how BT works in the court documents is usually something no real BT expert understands (except that the explanation clearly doesn’t describe BT, whatever it may be intended to explain).

  4. A .torrent file is not a link. Neither was finreactor a P2P network. BitTorrent, the technology, forms a brief, specific peer-to-peer network for the purposes of transmitting one set of bytes, metadata for which are given in a .torrent file. Finreactor was a website for making these metadata-containing files available between peers (in the sense of people of equal standing, rather than the endpoints of communication sense usually discussed in the context of ”peer-to-peer file sharing”), which additionally operated a tracker service to back up some of the .torrent files they made available. That is to say, Finreactor was a website, not a ”P2P network”.

    You people ought to bloody know better than to mix’n’match terminology in such a way that makes you out to be just as clueless as the average technology journalist.