Insurance Policies For File Sharing?

from the and-a-t-shirt dept

There isn't much detail on this (speaking Swedish might help), but in a Slashdot collection of posts, if you scroll down a bit, there's a short blurb about an insurance company in Sweden that is supposedly selling insurance policies to protect people from RIAA lawsuits. The best way to not get sued, of course, is not to share files (though, even that doesn't always work). However, if you really must keep sharing, the company is supposedly offering a $19/year policy where they'll pay any fines you get from the RIAA and (here's the good part) give you a t-shirt. While it's basically an amusing gimmick, it does, perhaps, give you a sense of what some folks think the market price should be for unlimited music -- and it's a lot lower than what the industry wants to charge.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    crystal_tech, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 1:52am

    HAHA

    this goes to show money is to be made anywhere..

    but if this is real... sign me up.. my raid array would be grateful.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 2:58am

    Hrm, this is an awesome idea... I wonder if they will come up with general crime insurance... Like if I "accidentally" commit a crime, i could get money to help pay for legal aid and such... This idea could GO places.

     

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  3.  
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    moe, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 4:03am

    For shame! :)

    Mike, have you taken a job at the RIAA? Kidding, kidding. But, the lack of further explanation in this snippet seems to indicate that file sharing is only good for stealing content. "The best way to not get sued, of course, is not to share files."

    As any regular reader of TechDirt knows, file sharing != stealing protected content.

     

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  4.  
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    VPR, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 4:24am

    they will pay all your fines and give you a t-shirt if you get convicted for file sharing


    I beat the RIAA?

     

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  5.  
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    claire rand, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 4:35am

    cynic

    i know the riaa & mpaa make a lot of noise, but how many *convictions* actually happen?

    if someones actually offering this as a service they are either thinking *they* will fight a few cases, and charge costs to riaa/mpaa as required, *or* that the chances of anyone with a bit of legal muscle behind them actually going to court is minimal.

    plus i dare say they will make a packet with counter suits etc.

    oh and if you *are* taken to court and manage to loose, i'll bet theres some nice small print...

     

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  6.  
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    Jean Thibaudeau, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 5:18am

    Easy target

    If I would be he RIAA, I would sue the insured first, because they can pay the fines.

    http://collaborativemarketing.blogspot.com/

     

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  7.  
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    Just me, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 6:01am

    Read Small Prints

    This is really amazing...and prompts the question of whether it is legal for them to sell such a policy. I don't speak Swedish personally...but I would advise people to read the small prints.

    For all you know, the insurance may only cover sharing of files that you own...and not files owned by others and protected by copyright laws.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 6:05am

    Don't see why it's not legal...

    Afterall, auto insurance will still pay if you get drunk and hit another car, at least in most cases.

    In that case, you've done something illegal as well. I can't see why selling an insurance policy itself could be illegal at all.

     

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  9.  
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    Erik, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 6:42am

    Terms for the insurance

    Freely translated from Swedish:
    The insurance is valid from the date of receipt of payment for the insurance.

    Tankafritt.nu reserves the right to exclude customers that are employed by trade organizations or movie/music companies, or customers with obvious intent to sabotage our services.

    The customers will be compensated for fines associated with file sharing violations only if the content was not already illegal, such as child porn.

    The customer may not have been sharing files for financial gain.

    Tankafritt.nu only operates in Sweden and does not accept customers from other countries.

    If the customer is accused of file sharing crimes, the customer shall contact tankafritt.nu as soon as possible and submit a copy of the complaint received by the police.

    Tankafritt.nu has the right to take action that may affect the availability of this services, if necessary for technical, maintenance, operational or economical reasons.

    Tankafritt.nu reserves the right to, without prior notice, change the terms for this service.

    Tankafritt.nu will not compensate customers for fines assessed outside of the time period for which the customer has paid for insurance.

    The customer does not have the right to be compensated for fines associated with sharing of music, movies, software programs our games through home pages. E.g. if the customers sets up a public home page where such content can be downloaded directly from a server. (Not applicable for torrents or downloads). [Translator's comment: Yes, confusing, I know.]

    All customer information will be treated with confidentiality, in order to protect customer integrity and safety.

     

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  10.  
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    Erik, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 6:50am

    RIAA assessing fines?

    The article claims that the insurance would compensate fines assessed by the RIAA. That wouldn't be a very useful policy in Sweden, nor I believe in the US, as the RIAA isn't empowered to assess fines in either country. It should be noted that the laws in Sweden does not allow for the RIAA to sue file sharers directly. If the RIAA (or their equivalent) believes that a Swedish user is sharing copyrighted materials, they can file a complaint with the police and it is up to the courts to determine the validity of the complaint and assess whatever fines the law call for.

     

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  11.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Jun 29th, 2006 @ 7:14am

    Re:

    "Afterall, auto insurance will still pay if you get drunk and hit another car, at least in most cases."
    -Anonymous Coward


    I was going to point out that you're wrong... but I just checked and you're not. In Florida, at least, your policy will provide coverage if the damages you cause are the result of an illegal activity.

    But you better believe that your company will drop your a$$ as soon as they know you were driving under the influence. They'll pay that first claim, but good luck getting insurance with a DUI again.

    Selling the insurance is not illegal, even if it covers you for illegal activites. It's not condoning or supporting those activites. It's just following it's policy provisions by paying out damages for which you are responsible. Same thing for this RIAA insurance. If you are responsible for paying out damages, and you have a contract that someone else will pay on your behalf, then that payor is not commiting an illegal act.

    But from the translation that Erik posted, it seems that this is not really an insurance contract.

    Tankafritt.nu has the right to take action that may affect the availability of this services, if necessary for technical, maintenance, operational or economical reasons.

    Tankafritt.nu reserves the right to, without prior notice, change the terms for this service


    The right to change w/o notice? Yeah, you're not going to see much of that in an insurance contract. There are two ways that your insurance changes:

    1)If the change is not beneficial to the policyholder, it's changed at the next renewal.

    2)If the change is beneficial to the policyholder, it's made "immediatly" (usually, asap after the change is authorized).

    I would not be suprised if the first time you make a claim on this, they have some kind of "change" that renders your claim unpayable. And since it's not a contract that prohibit's mid-term changes, ::shrug:: whatcha gonna do?

     

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  12.  
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    moe, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 7:15am

    re: Terms of insurance

    It makes sense now -- according to the terms, it only covers Swedish citizens. What kind of jurisdiction do RIAA/MPAA have in Sweden? If the answer is, "not much to none," then this is a money-making scheme.

     

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  13.  
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    Sean, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 8:12am

    Wow..

    Yeah.. the RIAA/MPAA can't really do jack all in Sweden considering it doesn't follow US law. Here's a tip for all you people who want to kick the RIAA in the balls. MOVE TO CANADA

     

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  14.  
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    Oldbear, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 9:21am

    Re: Wow..

    ...and free healthcare to boot.

     

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  15.  
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    Mikester, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 9:52am

    Re: Wow..

    That's right. Downloading music for personal use is still legal in Canada. It's permitted under our current Copyright Act. However, distributing is not permitted. So you can download as long as you don't share it or anything else. And this only covers music, so it does not apply to movies, TV, etc.

     

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  16.  
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    Ben, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 10:12am

    Re:

    I had a bad case of RIAA, but Swedensuracne cleared it right up.

     

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  17.  
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    Ben, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 10:15am

    Re: For shame! :)

    File sharing isn't illegal. :P sharing copy righted files is, but i can share a file i made or any other file with the permission of the rights owner and still not be breaking the law.

     

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  18.  
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    Wolfger, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 11:31am

    The downside...

    They are insuring you for the amount of the fine if convicted, but it seems you are on your own for the price of your legal defense, which ain't cheap. That's (one reason) why people settle out of court... even if you're innocent, and can prove you're innocent (even though burden of proof is supposedly on them), you can't necessarily afford to fight the deep pockets of the **AA.

     

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  19.  
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    BlackCow, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: For shame! :)

    @Ben
    Totaly agreed, I share a lot of files (online podcasts, game mods, and other stuff thats legal). File sharing is not a crime!

     

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  20.  
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    Mikester, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 1:06pm

    Re: The downside...

    They are insuring you for the amount of the fine if convicted, but it seems you are on your own for the price of your legal defense If you're given a fine, and you have this insurance, why would you bother fighting it in court, incurring legal fees? Why not just let the insurance company pay the fine and be done with it?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 1:19pm

    w00t?

     

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  22.  
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    Sean, Jun 29th, 2006 @ 2:37pm

    If you did go to court useing the same reasoning as http://techdirt.com/articles/20060629/0111254.shtml you have alredy admitted to doing some thing illegal and would lose.

     

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  23.  
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    Riley, Jun 30th, 2006 @ 12:33pm

    The math:

    If your chances of being sued are roughly 1 in 2000 for a given year (http://www.slyck.com/news.php?story=769) then that would give the insurance company about $40,000 to settle each lawsuit. Usually the settlements are quite a bit lower than that I would think. The numbers may be more favorable in Sweden where I presume it is significantly harder to bring a lawsuit for these types of things.

    Of course, if the RIAA was somewhow able to get a list of the people that are being "insured"... things could get ugly :)

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2006 @ 12:36pm

    Re:

    I would also imagine that if this insurance became commonplace - the number of lawsuits being brought by the RIAA would skyrocket as fewer people would fight it and it would become easier to collect settlements. This would cause the insurance to go up, lead to more lawsuits, etc. It would be interesting to see what equalibrium they would hit.

    One thing for sure - the lawyers are making out like bandits.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 3rd, 2006 @ 11:23pm

    I dont think a similar policy would work in the USA as I ?think? in Sweden users are only liable for actual damages unlike the great obsenity that is the United States where maximum statutory damages for wilful infringement are $150,000 per song - for something with a wholesale value of $0.70 cents = we can all see what an effective deterrent this has been (NOT!!!)

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 4th, 2006 @ 7:49am

    the text on the t-shirt translated

    It says "I'got convicted for file sharing and all I got was a lousy t-shirt".
    Isn't that a laugh in the face of the RIAA.. ;)

     

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  27.  
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    lkkkdfl, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 11:13am

    late but anyways

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2006 @ 11:18am

    RIAA

    Well, sure RIAA cant do shit in Sweden, however, there is a sister organization called AntipiratbyrÄn (The Anti Piracy Bureau), who CAN report citizens on behalf of the copyright owners

     

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  29.  
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    Sharing IS Caring, Feb 15th, 2007 @ 3:53pm

    Legalize already!

    Why can't just everyone come to their senses and legalize all types of filesharing. Nobody loses money because of filesharing, that's just a complete load of BS.
    Sane people buy their music and movies to support further developement. So there will always be a reason to buy things you want even if you can download them free off of the internet.

    What could lessen the amount of piracy going on is if release dates would be when the product is complete (worldwide). Not 18 months later.

    Personally I mostly download to preview things. I know there are trailers for movies but they are often misleading, and I don't want to buy something I don't know what it is.
    There are demos for games and applications, and sometimes they are sufficient. Sometimes they are not.
    If I hear a good song, I want to download the album to make sure that wasn't the only good song.
    I also don't want to wait all those months for the dvd release since I'm not the cinema person, but prefer to watch movies at home.
    The last reason to download is when you can't afford something, like a $5'000 software for instance. I would never be able to afford this even if I didn't download it, so there are no loss for the company.
    I will keep download for free as well as I will buy everything I like that I can afford. Because I want to see that movie sequel, play the next game in the series and hear the next great song of my favourite band.

     

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