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Thanks To ISP Bahnhof, We Know Just How Crazy Copyright Trolling In Sweden Is Getting

from the out-of-control dept

For some time, Swedish ISP Bahnhof has been sounding the alarm over copyright trolling practices in its home country. While cynics will note that Bahnhof has absolutely made its refusal to hand over customer data a central part of its marketing messaging, the ISP has also made a point to publicly track copyright trolling court cases, threat letters, and pretty much everything else related to copyright trolling in Sweden. And, frankly, it's due pretty much solely to Bahnhof's tracking efforts that we now know just how insanely worse copyright trolling in Sweden has gotten in just the last year or so.

According to Swedish Internet provider Bahnhof, which keeps track of these cases on a dedicated website, records are being broken this year.

“Thousands of Swedes have received threatening letters from law firms which accuse them of illegal downloading. They are asked to pay a sum of money, ranging from a couple of thousand Swedish Kronors up to several thousand, to avoid being brought to justice,” Bahnhof Communicator Carolina Lindahl notes. “During 2018 the extortion business has increased dramatically. The numbers have already exceeded last year’s figures even though four months still remain.”

The over 35,000 individuals targeted totals more than the number of targets in the last two years combined. It also totals more than all of the filesharing cases in the United States and Canada combined. And, in case the point isn't sinking in just yet, that's insane. And, again, while Bahnhof today is using all of this data in its messaging to the public as to why they should be Bahnhof customers, the company's long-term goal is actually to get the government involved to clarify the law and disallow this business practice.

“It’s time to reverse the trend before another 100, 1000 or 10,000 individuals have to join the growing group of victims. The practice of sending extortion letters to internet users solely based on IP-addresses does not meet any requirements of legal certainty and must be stopped,” Bahnhof’s Communicator stresses.

“We want to see a reform of copyright law aimed at promoting artistic creation instead of the commercial interests of the copyright industry.”

It remains to be seen just how high the victim count must go before the Swedish government indeed does its job.

Filed Under: copyright, copyright trolling, shakedowns, sweden
Companies: bahnhof

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  1. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 17 Sep 2018 @ 4:37pm

    US ISP's are more concerned with protecting themselves from competition and other efforts to protect their customers to be bothered with the fact that they might be co-conspirators in the extortion practices of certain copyright protagonists. Would that the courts, who have done some decent things (and some not so decent) with regard to the extortioners need to spread some of the blame to ISP's for co-conspiracy in the fraud that is being perpetrated.

    This is not to say that some of the accusations by the copyright strongmen are wrong (what is the ratio of wrong accusation vs actually correct accusations?), but a few corrections to the copyright law would make it less copywrong and actually start to encourage creativity again. Things such as an accusation is not proof, more reasonable terms of copyright length, correct the DMCA so that false accusations are actually punished (harshly), make copyrights nontransferable but could be limitedly licensed to producers/labels/publishers/etc., and others with the purpose being reducing the incentives that so called 'pirates' have (and not spending money isn't one of the major ones). What they really are has been discussed many many times here, but copyright hard cores never listen.

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