Portuguese Man Convicted On Criminal Charges For Sharing Three Songs

from the and-here's-a-playlist dept

Nelson Cruz points us to the latest news of totally ridiculous and disproportionate punishments for file sharing. A young man in Portugal has been convicted on criminal charges for sharing 3 songs. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail, but the jail sentence was suspended, and instead he has to pay €880. While the report notes he was apparently sharing more songs, the charges only covered 3 songs. To make it clear just how ridiculous this is, Nelson also put together a YouTube playlist with all three songs -- showing that they're all available to share in this manner legally. Today. Back in 2006, because of the industry's own stupidity, such services were not readily available. If they were, the kid likely would have used such a legal service. So how is it that what this kid did was so horrible that it deserves a criminal conviction? It seems like all he really did was help show the industry what the public was looking for.

Of course, the ridiculousness doesn't stop there. The local Portuguese version of the RIAA, called the AFP, appears to be using this case as an example of why they need a Hadopi-style three strikes law in Portugal. The problem? It took nearly six years to convict this kid for daring to share 3 songs. Of course, it took nearly as long for the industry to get its act together and offer legal services. Perhaps we should give that a go for a while before we start passing new laws that kick people off the internet, yes?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 7:07am

    So they spent six years trying to get 880 euros. If they decide to mass prosecute torrent dl's it'll take them like forty years lol.

     

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  2.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 7:09am

    Of course what is really funny is that I can see kicking people of the internet greatly increasing piracy. You see, I use services like netflix and pandora but if they kick me off the internet then I can't use these services.

    Of course if you killed my home internet I COULD STILL PIRATE movies and music by going to McDonnalds and downloading them while getting lunch. So instead of stopping the problem you will have made it so I would pirate everything instead of just a few things.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 7:11am

    Re:

    And the lawyers rejoiced.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 7:17am

    how utterly ridiculous! i hope the entertainment industries are proud of themselves, particularly when they had every means and opportunity to never have the situation (sharing 3 freakin' songs!) arise in the first place! so, can someone tell us when crimes like murder, rape and armed robbery are going to be reclassified as 'civil crimes' please, or are we as a society just going to allow every wrong doing, big or small, (particularly if concerned with copyright infringement) be punishable by a prison sentence? if so, we need to perfect space travel real quick so that 'penal planets' can be set up, otherwise we will building prisons instead of housing and factories here on Earth!

     

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  5.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 7:32am

    Re: Patterns

    Well, given the pattern of things it seems more likely that everybody will be deemed a criminal thru one stupid law or another, so they'd likely maintain the Earth as a prison planet and make it so only 'guiltless' are allowed to leave the hell-hole known as "Earth".

    There will be very few 'guiltless' (only those in the MAFIAA and those who have more money than God) so the expense of travelling off-world will be much more reasonable.

    Plus, if we assume the entire planet is a prison save for a few 'freedom zones' in which only the guiltless are allowed, it saves a ton on fence building & such.

     

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  6.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 7:39am

    Re: Re: Patterns

    Really I think you will find that we long ago hit the point that everyone is a criminal. There are so many laws on the books these day, many of them very complicated and more still that are overly broad. Everyone breaks some law of some kind on a regular basis.

    If you drive then I am willing to bet at some time you have exceeded the speed limit, or failed to fully stop at stop sign, maybe forgot your blinkers when turning, or how about your headlights last time it was foggy?

    That is just examples from one area of life. It has become so easy to break the law that most of us do so all the time without thinking about it.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 7:39am

    Who's The Boss ?

    My dog has infinitely more capacity than I have to be vicious and murderous.

    He really holds the power, but we have a bargain that allows me to 'control' him. I feed him and walk him and I don't irritate him too much, so he stays mostly very docile and compliant.

    I can shove him around a few times a day and he'll take it. He doesn't like it, but even in his miniscule brain, its just not worth the effort for him to retaliate.

    But, if I shoved my dog around enough, he'd try to escape.

    And if I stopped him from escaping and kept shoving him around, he'd wait for just the right moment for me to drop my guard (perhaps as I fall asleep). Then he'd maul me (and likely kill me) and escape and disappear forever.

    Or he might just escape and disappear forever.

    Either way, my dog would be gone forever and I would have become forever irrelevant to the very creature I tried to enslave.

    If I was a member The Copyright Cartel these days, I'd be very afraid to fall asleep.

    Woof.

     

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  8.  
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    PaulT (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 7:42am

    Just to put this in the more ridiculous light it deserves: drug possession is largely decriminalised in Portugal, and counselling, treatment and community service rather than jail time is preferred. That is, if this guy had been caught with 3 grams of cocaine he may have been sent for counselling. Because he was caught with 3 songs, he may be sent to jail.

    Another fun fact: Spotify, among many other legal music services, is not available in Portugal despite being available in Spain, France and most other Western European countries. In other words, it's another overreaction putting draconian legal measures above actually selling a product...

     

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  9.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 7:44am

    Re:

    Hell all you have to do is call another provider, give a different name. When was the last time any utility actually confirmed the identity of the end user? Here in PA I have never had to go into a utility company to give proof. When I moved into Western PA, all I did was call Verizon and 2 days later they were out. PECO was just like OK, and the bills started coming. Coulda said I was the Hamburglar.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 7:49am

    Out of curiosity, how many songs was this individual actually "sharing" (a.k.a., "distributing")? The post here states that the number was more than just 3.

     

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  11.  
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    H. Elpyursoelf, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 7:55am

    Sharing Is Caring

     

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  12.  
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    Bobby_Digital, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 7:58am

    "showing that they're all available to share in this manner legally."

    Not exactly:
    "Unfortunately, this SME-music-content is not available in Germany because GEMA has not granted the respective music publishing rights.
    Sorry about that."

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 7:59am

    Re:

    Does that matter? He was only charged for three of them. Portugal might be a dump, but at least it isn't the USA where the concepts of "innocent until proven guilty" and "due process" are all but forgotten.

     

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  14.  
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    A Guy (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 8:04am

    Not So Bad

    I like this system. It is clearly not cost effective to go after a little guy that's causing no real harm to anyone. That's a feature.

    As long as the rights holder has to pay for prosecution, the market should work itself out.

     

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  15.  
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    IronM@sk, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 8:08am

    Re: Forty Years?

    6 years. 880 Euros. 1 guy.

    40 years. (torrents = 5,867 Euros from 7 guys.)

    Please explain your math, or your critical thinking...

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 8:14am

    He should have copied hundreds of thousands of DVD's and sent them to the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. The MPAA is apparently willing to overlook that.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/27/nyregion/at-92-movie-bootlegger-is-soldiers-hero.html?hp

    "Howard Gantman, a spokesman for the Motion Picture Association of America, said he did not believe its member studios were aware of Mr. Strachman’s operation. His sole comment dripped with the difficulty of going after a 92-year-old widower supporting the troops.

    “We are grateful that the entertainment we produce can bring some enjoyment to them while they are away from home,” Mr. Gantman said. "

     

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  17.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 8:36am

    Re:

    "Although the most costly piracy now takes place online through file-sharing Web sites, the illegal duplication of copyright DVDs — usually by organized crime in Eastern Europe and China, not by retirees in their 90s in the American suburbs — still siphons billions of dollars out of the industry every year."

    Ummm aren't you THE New York Times? Have you heard of this thing called research and fact checking?

    They have sued dead people for infringement, I think the real fear comes from the idea of a buncha vets coming home to find out the guy who did for them is getting screwed. It is nice they talk about sending films on reels and projectors to the troops... are they sending them old newsreels? Or do they fear that they will drop the rifles and race to get early copies onto TPB if they sent them something the troops could actually use.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 8:39am

    Re: Re: Forty Years?

    Um I'm not good at math. I was just trying to illustrate the ridiculous of trying this in court and how much a process and how costly it is. Also, pointless.

     

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  19.  
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    Atkray (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 8:44am

    Re: Who's The Boss ?

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re:

    As a matter of fact, yet it does. People are prosecuted all the time after having committed multiple offenses, but only a very few, sometimes even just one, of those offenses are taken to trial.

    The presumption of innocence and due process have not at all been "forgotten", and to suggest our judicial system has cast them aside is absurd.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 8:58am

    Typical Mike, justifying evil pirates. Can't you see that this criminal caused irreparable damage to the record industry? They lost a huge number of jobs.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 9:01am

    Every one song pirated equals up to 1 million job losses.

     

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  23.  
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    DannyB (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I like your use of quotes.

    Due process has been "forgotten". (But I'm sure it's just an oversight.) The RIAA/MPAA do believe in guilty until proven innocent.

    Example:

    A website can get taken down, or even an entire domain name affecting hundreds or even thousands of innocent users, on the mere accusation (no proof required) of copyright infringement. No advance notice. No chance to contest that it is not infringing or raise other defenses. (Maybe the MPAA/RIAA uploaded it themselves!)

    Witness what a farce the government's case against foreign Megaupload has turned into. I'm sure it was pure coincidence that this foreign site, and thousands of users data, was made unavailable, possibly to be destroyed, with the hosting provider continuing to retain the data at great expense, all on the mere accusation of someone from the US -- the day after SOPA failed.

    Yeah. No due process there. No innocent until proven guilty there. Other examples exist.

    It is increasingly difficult to take anything the RIAA/MPAA mouthpieces say in good faith.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re:

    DirecTV asked for my social sec # when I was calling them to get quotes. I asked why and they said we just want to make sure we offer you the best service we can. I can only assume they mean we want to run a credit check to make sure you are not a deadbeat before we give you a 2 year deal that you will stop paying for in 6 months.

    I hung up.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Apparently you have never studied the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, because your comments in essence state that the Supreme Court, which approved the rules, is largely ignorant of constitutional law.

    You can read these rules for yourself at:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/frcp/

    Of course, you should feel free to send any suggested amendments you may have to the court.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 9:40am

    Re:

    Yeah, paying for lawyers for 6 years isn't cheap.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 9:56am

    Re:

    I'll flag you as "funny", even though I think you could have been a bit more over the top with your satirical comment.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
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    Ninja (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    Don't forget the 50 gazillion tribillion dollars losses because he also uploaded them.

     

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  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 11:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I haven't seen the supreme court rule on any of the cases he mentions.

    But you are right we have never passed any unconstitutional laws in the US, that just doesn't happen right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 11:05am

    Re:

    Does RZA know you stole his alias?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 11:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You can refuse to give SSN. AT&T asks for it, too, but if a customer refuses we'd just fill in with 1-9 and let it go.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Then the Supreme Court is wrong. They've been getting more so as the years pass. You can argue that they are always right all you wish, but there will come a time when the government will need to be dismantled and 'rebooted.' I feel that time may be coming sooner than the decriers of this fact wish to believe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 6:06pm

    Re: Re: Forty Years?

    It's the RIAA we're dealing with; math is not their strong suit. Neither is critical thinking.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 27th, 2012 @ 8:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Forty Years?

    The story has NOTHING to do with the RIAA!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    nelsoncruz (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 10:56pm

    Google+ post not public

    Sorry Mike, but that G+ post of mine wasn't public. My bad for not making it so, or warning you. Since that can't be changed (damn you google) I now re-shared it for your readers that may want to read it and check the links to the news stories:
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/111097426968446299927/posts/Ecca7k5F2E4

    I also since discovered some more tidbits in other news stories about this case. Two other people where acquitted by the court because it couldn't be proven they personally did the sharing. And this kid only got convicted for three songs because the prosecution had to present evidence he actually infringed (or "usurped" as our law says) the rights of every single song. Whatever was required to do that, apparently it was to hard or to much of a hassle to do. Even in six years.

    This brings a new perspective to the desire of AFP for an Hadopi-style three strikes law. It's not just that it takes years to convict someone, but those pesky criminal courts demand serious evidence! It's *so* much easier to just accuse someone three times, and have the state automatically fine them or cut their internet access. Afterwards they can appeal and prove their innocence if they want to. Much simpler.

    I don't even know why we bother to have traffic police and speed radars on the roads. We could all just report each others license plates and have the police issue fines. That would work, right?

     

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  36.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 27th, 2012 @ 11:49pm

    Re: Google+ post not public

    Oops. Updated the link...

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 28th, 2012 @ 7:18pm

    We won't allow this to happen.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    me, Apr 28th, 2012 @ 10:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    they are not ignorant of it, they just ignore it.

     

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  39.  
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    me, Apr 28th, 2012 @ 10:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    nope, never .... NDAA, CISPA, and a ton of EO's that dismantle almost all of our rights and that's just the recent ones .... but americans truly don't care, they are too distracted with their own lives to notice that our country is about to implode.

     

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  40.  
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    Stay away, Apr 29th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    from Portugal

    Portugal is the toilet of Europe. Stay away from it and you'll be better off.

     

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  41.  
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    The Moondoggie, Apr 29th, 2012 @ 6:31pm

    Re: Re: Forty Years?

    These are IP Maximalist... and you ask them to do math?

    /facetrout

     

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  42.  
    identicon
    The Moondoggie, Apr 29th, 2012 @ 6:36pm

    Re: from Portugal

    No it's not: It's a good place, with good people, filled with good food and wine, ruled over by..... dumbasses.

    The gov't: that's the main Portuguese problem...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Supbrah (profile), May 4th, 2012 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Who's The Boss ?

    Unless it has been ingrained into your dog's head since birth that this is just the way things are.

    And your dog comes to accept this enslavement as completely normal.

    And if your dog never learns how to live on its own without your handouts....

    Well, he just might come to love Big Brother.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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