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.