We were just noting that the IFPI thinks it's going to start seizing computers
directly to get evidence of unauthorized file sharing, and wondering how that would work. At least in the UK, they may have just received some legal support. Over the summer, we wondered why an anti-piracy group in the UK was given access to
and allowed to keep computers from a criminal
investigation into an online service, called Surfthechannel, accused of unauthorized file sharing. The police seized the computers, but decided not to pursue criminal charges. It never made much sense that private, industry-backed anti-piracy group FACT was a major part of the criminal investigation, as they're quite the biased party. They were given seized computers as a part of this investigation -- and once the police decided not to pursue criminal charges, FACT kept the machines, saying it was considering a civil suit. However, the lawyers for Surfthechannel noted that the police and FACT had no right to keep the seized machines after the decision was made not to pursue criminal charges.
Apparently (and unfortunately) a judge disagrees. A reader
alerts us (via comments on a totally separate story, rather than a submission -- not sure why) to the news that the judge in the case has said that police have every right to retain seized computers
, even after they've decided not to pursue criminal charges. The judges noted that the law allows police the retain anything seized "so long as is necessary in all the circumstances" and then ruled that the potential of a civil suit from FACT was one of those "circumstances" that qualified. It's difficult to see how that makes any sense, but so ruled the court.