MPAA Accused Of Tampering With Evidence In Key Copyright Case In Finland
from the above-the-law dept
The case involved some servers in Finland that were apparently used by a warez group there called Angel Falls. The tampered evidence came out when an expert investigator was on the stand, and showed some video of his investigation. However, the defense pointed out that the username in the video did not match up with the relevant entry in the logfile, at which point it was revealed that the MPAA exec had tampered with the evidence in an attempt to cover the tracks of the "user" who was a part of the investigation. According to TorrentFreak's summary of the events:
The video, a screencast of the investigation, showed a particular username accessing an Angel Falls FTP server. However, the corresponding text log for the same event showed a completely different username.Incredibly, the MPAA exec had not told the defense of this change, which is why it came out in court when they spotted it. This has resulted in the police starting an investigation into possible evidence tampering (they found 10 changes to the files), as well as the overall case ending in a less spectacular fashion than the MPAA and IFPI had clearly hoped. Two of the defendants were acquitted entirely, while the other four were given suspended sentences. The plaintiffs' request for 6 million euros also was knocked all the way down to merely 45,000 euros.
“When the IFPI investigator was asked about this he acknowledged that the names did not match. He said that the Finnish anti-piracy people and IFPI had collected the information together, but there was also an MPAA executive in the room while the evidence gathering took place,” Hietanen explains.
The IFPI investigator was then asked to reveal the name of the MPAA executive. He declined, but did offer an explanation for the inconsistencies in the evidence.
In an apparent attempt to hide the identity of one of their spies, the MPAA executive edited the evidence gathered during the session.
“The IFPI investigator handed over the evidence material to the MPAA senior executive who then changed the text file before the anti-piracy organization handed over the evidence to the Finnish police,” Hietanen says.
Still, the really incredible thing here are the actions of the MPAA and their continued apparent belief that they are entirely above the law, so long as they're pursuing someone they feel is involved in copyright infringement. It calls into question the "evidence" presented in other cases as well.