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Posted by on Sep 27, 2012 in Internet |

Portugal: sharing content for personal use is not illegal

Portugal: sharing content for personal use is not illegal

In almost all countries there are organizations, or lobbies, whose purpose is to preserve the archaic business of copyright, the copyright fight, get as laws (such as the Law Sinde-Wert), prosecuting users who share and download content or request closure of download websites. In Portugal, as in many other countries, the Trade Association for Cultural and Audiovisual Works Entertainment (ACAPOR) collected the IP addresses of some 2,000 Portuguese users who share copyrighted content over the Internet with the aim of file a complaint with the prosecution of the country. The result? Months after filing the complaint, the prosecutor dismissed the case on the grounds that sharing copyrighted content for personal use is not an illegal act and, in addition, an IP address is not a user identifying information.

The news, which to some extent is in line with other judgments in other countries , does not sit well with ACAPOR in a note posted on its website accusing the country’s judicial authorities to “do nothing” to this such situations. It is logical that this association is not happy with the decision because, in my view, makes it quite clear a few things about the law of Portugal that is worth knowing can be compared with the arguments made in the original complaint.

By entering situation, last year several members of ACAPOR appeared at the Attorney General of Portugal wearing black shirts (in the slogan that read “Piracy is illegal”) and delivered several boxes of “evidence” that around than 2,000 users in the country through Internet sharing copyrighted content. And what were these tests? User identification was done by IP address, ie IP address associated to the owner of the connection, according to the association, pointed to the user as alleged pirate.

Upon the filing of the complaint, the prosecution moved the case to the police and, after several months of investigation, the prosecution has dismissed the data on 2,000 users because it found no evidence showing that the use of these goes beyond the personal (ie not appreciate a clear profit).

From a legal standpoint, given that users upload and download files in these networks to share content, consider this conduct under the law, even considering that users continue to share the contents once the download is complete

But the rejection does not stop there but continues with indications that the rights to education, culture and freedom of expression on the Internet can not be restricted in cases where the violation of the copyright is for noncommercial purposes since that, in addition, an IP address does not clearly identify a person:

The user who is connected and commits the offense need not necessarily be the person that owns the connection

As mentioned at the beginning, ACAPOR is unimpressed by this interpretation of Portuguese law and think the decision is arbitrary and seeks the comfort of the judiciary but, in my point of view, is a strong endorsement of Portuguese Internet users, hopefully , likely to spread to other countries seeking to “fence the field” with laws like HADOPI, Sinde-Wert and similar nonsense.

Picture: GoldAlert

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