Piracy charges are dropped after 9-year-old girl’s father pays 300 euros

Remember that 9-year-old-turned-pirate girl in Finland who’s home was raided and laptop was confiscated? Yeah, well, that saga has come to a close. The father of the girl, who is the one held responsible by Finland’s Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (CIPAC) because he owns the Internet connection the girl used, has paid 300 euros to CIPAC and the case has been closed.

If you aren’t familiar with the issue, let me quickly explain.

Last year, a 9-year-old girl (who is now 10) downloaded some songs off The Pirate Bay after finding the website via Google. Finland’s CIPAC tracked the IP address of the girl’s home and sent her father a notice to pay 600 euros fine and sign a non-disclosure agreement, otherwise CIPAC would take further steps. The father refused to pay (because he couldn’t afford it, according to him) and CIPAC had the police raid the family home, in the process confiscating the girl’s ‘Winnie the Pooh’ laptop that was used to download the songs.

Huge public outcry followed the raid, from normal people to artists to politicians — including Finland’s Minister of Culture — denouncing how CIPAC handled the situation. Did the outcry deter CIPAC and force them to drop the charges? Nope. But it did force them to agree upon a lesser settlement — 300 euros, which the father paid.

After payment, the case against the father and the investigation were dropped.

According to CIPAC chief Antti Kotilainen, CIPAC is “very happy” with the outcome and feels “in a way, we just continued the original negotiations from where we left off”. I believe Antti means “continued the original negotiations after we sent armed enforcers to scare the shit out of the family”.

I don’t know about anyone else, but CIPAC’s actions remind me of how, in some cities, gangs and mafias force business owners to pay “protection money” to stay safe; anyone that doesn’t pay is harassed until they do. You know, extortion. Which is illegal (in most places). Except in this case. I mean, come on. Sure the girl did something illegal. And legally, her father is the responsible party. Okay, so hold him responsible. Take him to court. Charge him. Make him pay a fine. Hold him in contempt if he refuses. Throw him in jail, if that is what the laws of your country dictate. But asking for payment then raiding the home after refusal to pay, in hopes of getting him to pay? Yeah, sounds more like extortion than law enforcement.

[via TorrentFreak]

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9 comments

  1. Bonjourno

    @JMJ:

    Step down from your soapbox, go online and make yourself familiar with the Real Legal Data about the case – even a larva can get it. I understand your hallucination and incapability to do that, because the eyes are of little use if the mind is blind. Your imaginary “COURT-ORDERED search warrant” – is many times repeated bluff, because court was not involved in that case – IT’s THAT SIMPLE. Also, it’s not just about the issue of “no-court involvement” (in that case), it’s about your fully incompetent opinion and irrational standing regarding the girl’s case (read all of your meaningless postings deprived of the real substance and common sense).

    Once Samuel Johnson said that you need to raise your voice when you should reinforce your argument. I am sure that as a clueless history pupil, you do not have an idea who is this man, but it’s about you who are screaming a lot when making soap bubbles-arguments.

    I think that your “G-O-O-D-B-Y-E” is only the one appropriate word amid your pompous postings, because that word will save your … (politely)… head from the hammer of justice. So, goodbye to you, too – the noisy, puffy and … (politely)… chatterer.

  2. JMJ

    @Bonjourno:
    Good morning, good afternoon, good evening, good night, Bonjourno, take your pick …. depending on your time zone! Obviously, you do not correspond with peoples from around the World, otherwise you would have taken no offense by being greeted with a “Goodnight”.

    YOU are making pseudo-legal arguments HERE on dottech about a LEGAL matter but, when you are provided documentary proof that your arguments are Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, you then whine that you should not be held to the standards of legal argumentation. Amazing!

    The fact that the complainant chooses not to seek all the reliefs the law entitles it to seek has absolutely no bearing on the legitimacy of its complaint. Too complicated? Try this: If a person walks into a store, steals a candy bar and is detained by the police who responded to the store-owner’s call and who then are told by the store-owner that s/he does not wish to press charges, DOES NOT mean that the initial theft did not occur or that the store-owner acted improperly in protecting her/his property!

    On behalf of one of its aggrieved/injured members, CIAPC demanded payment of “damages” and the signing of a non-disclosure agreement, in return for which, they offered not to pursue the matter further, i.e., not to file formal, criminal charges. When their demands were not met or even responded to, they instigated formal legal proceedings that resulted in the execution of a COURT-ORDERED search warrant.

    Nothing in your latest polemic gainsays those facts. Indeed, in your rabid determination to attack me, you simply ignore facts and offer “sound bites” in their stead so that you can continue to offer misinformed, pseudo-legal … (politely)… opinions.

    Hopeless.

    Good afternoon/good evening/good night/G-O-O-D-B-Y-E, Bonjourno.

  3. Bonjourno

    @JMJ:

    You have created your own communication “ground rules” (which is funny), but from the beginning you did not comply with them. Instead of greeting me with honor: “Dear Bonjourno”, you disrespectfully wrote “Buonanotte Bonjourno” which means “Good night Bonjourno”. That is bad in accordance with your own rules.

    You asked for the citations and quotes, but you forgot that we are neither in pre-litigation stage of criminal/civil case nor in court hearing before a judge or a hearing officer or court commissioner – we are on dottech.com. So just do your diligent Internet research before posting any frivolous conclusions, but don’t do it until 2:46 a.m. like you did it last time. Per your permission, I checked your SkyDrive record and was amazed – what a sleepless and exhausted night you had, poor JMJ.

    Now, to the “hopelessly confused, irredeemably wrong and stubborn” JMJ.

    If this matter (the Finnish case) was not important enough to you to ferret out the applicable Finnish statutes (like you admitted in your posting), don’t impose on everyone your wrong hypothesis about the case and about the family of the poor girl, whose punishment was inadequate to the so-called infringement, which was obvious for the entire Planet, except for you. By using your own words – you’re on the wrong side of the history.

    I need to repeat again for you: Finnish court was not involved in that case and the police did home search and computer seizure based solely on the complaint from Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (CIAPC). Read the press to see that the raiding the house of a 9-year-old girl and seizing of her “Winnie the Pooh” laptop was not the public relations triumph that copyright holders were hoping for. Police has ended their criminal investigation into piracy allegations against a 9-year-old girl and her father (who ignored requests from CIAPC to pay fine). The Finnish detective Markku Nisula (the head of the investigation) told MTV3 (a Finnish commercial television station) that his Department has “decided to end the criminal investigation, because CIAPC has waived the penalty claims and return to the girl her Winnie the Pooh laptop”. It means that CIAPC had a pretty good idea of how bad the optic of this case was Worldwide.

    Therefore, put your falsely created marks like “wrong 1,2,3” (etc.) into the place where they factually belong.

  4. JMJ

    @Bonjourno: Buonanotte Bonjourno, I was disappointed by your last communication with me. Perhaps, this time, will be better. Since you obviously are as stubborn as I and insist on pursuing this tete-a-tete, let’s agree on some ground rules.

    1. Before each round of this fight, we must greet each other cordially. Therefore, next time, you must begin with something like, “Dear JMJ, you are confused and wrong” or “Greetings JMJ, I’m sorry to tell you that you are hopelessly confused and irredeemably wrong”.
    2. If either of us quotes facts, then he must provide citations, links, you know: Proof.
    3. Each of us is to behave and “speak” like gentleman to the other.

    Okay? Good.

    Now, dear Bonjourno, let’s fight and learn where any confusion and error truly lie. Perhaps the best place to start is with your assumption that my position is narrowly based on my (expert) understanding of American jurisprudence. That assumption is Wrong #1. This matter was not important enough to me to ferret out the applicable Finnish statutes but I AM certain that NO private entity in Finland, or most anywhere else in any constitutionally governed land, can cause the police (your “constabulary”) to execute a warrant of any sort without the EXPRESS Order of a Court of competent jurisdiction. In other words, CIAPC, a non-profit, membership-based, private entity, one of whose members is the Finnish Ministry of Education, on its own could not have caused the police to do anything, including serving any search warrant.

    Before a court issues an order giving relief to any party, a cause of action must be presented including any particulars of the matter, in this case, support for the allegation of having been injured by what turns out to be our Wee Pirate Lass. In the absence of the threat of imminent material harm (usually only physical), there is also a requirement that prima facie evidence be presented that the aggrieved party made the injuring party aware of the harm and allowed sufficient time for it/them to redress the grievance. In other words, the Court would require that there be shown that a good-faith effort had been made to address the situation prior to seeking the intervention of the Court. You know, that “one” letter you speak of. There is no requirement that the aggrieved party has to beg and plead for the injuring party to cease and desist. Wrong #2.

    Requesting acceptance of a non-disclosure agreement, in matters like this and many, many others, is absolutely standard. Just ask many a person who has survived an acrimonious divorce! Wrong #3

    I’m tired. Let’s continue this after I’ve had a chance to dispel some of my confusion by browsing the relevant Finnish statutes. Based on your so strenuously taking me to task, I’m SURE you have done YOUR homework already but, just in case I’m wrong about that TOO, here are links to my SkyDrive with original and translated documents of how CIAPC operates:
    Original: http://sdrv.ms/SI6nUv
    English: http://sdrv.ms/SI6fUS

    See ya later.

  5. Bonjourno

    @JMJ:

    You’re confused and wrong, because you have tailored this situation to the American legal system which does not have anything to do with that particular case in Finland (court was not involved, the judge/hearing-officer was not assigned, it was not contempt to court, and no one issued any court summons to the family). The Finish anti-piracy group CIAPC, known locally as TTVK , was acting “within the boundaries of Finnish legislation”, not American legislation. A spokesperson for CIAPC told BBC “That individual lawsuits against file-sharers are a Slow and Ineffective Process.” Period.

    Just a single letter (not complaint or/and summons, etc.) was sent to the family by CIAPC demanding 600 Euros (approximately £485 or $773) to be paid up “Immediately”. Also enclosed was a Non-Disclosure form, which stated that the father could not go to the press with this story. The girl’s father viewed this as Extortion and refused to pay.

    CIAPC issued a warrant to search the premises. The constabulary had no idea that they’d been sent out for a nine-year-old girl, BUT THEY SOON DID – the girl’s Winnie The Pooh decorated laptop was confiscated (!!) and the officers went away.

    Due to absurdity of this situation and worldwide outcry, Finish police ended “the criminal investigation”, because CIAPC “has waived the penalty claims”.

    So the spirit of Ashraf’s article is correct.

  6. jayesstee

    @JMJ: And I agree with you. Points well put.
    BTW My “grand piano safe” is in the virtual state at the moment. Before I create a real one I need to be able to play it, otherwise the cover will be completely blown. I did do two terms of piano tuition nearly seventy years ago, so it shouldn’t take more than a few more years!

  7. JMJ

    @jayesstee: You know, I ALMOST agree with you…. almost. I don’t think that Little Baby should be have be exposed to police AT ALL, except for their coming to her school to give POSITIVE lectures on crossing streets safely, avoiding strangers, staying away from drugs, etc. Children should see the police as resources to be sought out in times of duress, like when they are separated from their parents in a shopping mall. It was avoidably traumatic for her to see cops coming to her home for negative reasons.

    Let’s be clear: The courts and police had no idea that the “pirate” was a child; they only knew that the accused lived at so-and-so address. The father (and mother) could have shielded his(their) child(ren) from all this by simply answering the original court summons. Whoever the aggrieved party is (in this case a music publisher), they COULD NOT have issued or have had the police execute a search warrant. Those can only be issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.

    I’ll bet as much money as you can fit in your *Grand Piano Safe* that, if the parent(s) had answered the first court summons, when the judge/hearing-officer learned the culprit was a nine-year-old child, the matter would have been dismissed or adjourned in contemplation of dismissal after 3-6 months.

  8. jayesstee

    @JMJ: Maybe the father had other more important things to do than pander to an over-the-top demand for “damages” for what a young kiddy did. A visit from the Police, a stern lecture with a measure of “finger wagging” would have been fairer and more effective.
    Of course serial theft of any thing is wrong and should be punished, but this was totally over the top.
    As I have suggested elsewhere, the police have targets to meet and this was “easy pickings”!

  9. JMJ

    Ashraf, you make this sound as though whoever-it-was demanded money via telephone and fifteen-minutes later, after the father refused to pay what you completely inaccurately call extortion, they sent uniformed goons to terrorize the family.

    In your original post on this subject and again here, rather than writing as a true journalist providing objective facts for your readers to consider, you purposely left out several key points, one of which is that this father had more than ONE YEAR to address this matter before formal complaints were filed in court and he was served with a summons to appear and defend himself. He simply ignored the matter until, based on his continuing failure to respond to the court summons, he was held in contempt and a warrant was SUBSEQUENTLY issued.

    If one gets a simple speeding ticket and does not respond to it, eventually that person will be forced to appear, usually in the “company” of a police officer.

    What really are you complaining about or are you simply pandering to whatever anarchist element forms part of your readership?

    In any event, I’m glad the family has this behind them and do not seem to have been starved to near death in the process.

    The father and daughter actually look very cute together, albeit behind bars… with the Little Criminal actually packing heat, no less. :-) I bet they make a couple markka out of this escapade from television appearances, magazine/news articles, etc. I wish them well.