Anti-Piracy Group Throws In The Towel

A Danish anti-piracy outfit has lost so many cases against illegal file-sharers that it’s no longer bothering to take them to court.

Antipiratgruppen, which represents the music and movie industries, has struggled to gather the sort of solid evidence that would gain a conviction and has thrown in the towel.

“It requires very strong and concrete evidence to have these people convicted. We simply could not lift the burden of proof,” Antipiratgruppen lawyer Mary Fredenslund told national paper Politiken.

The four cases that have come before the Danish High Court during the last year have resulted in three acquittals and one conviction, although in the last case it was because the defendant confessed.

“Antipiratgruppen has acknowledged that they can’t get people convicted without either catching them in the act or threatening them to confess,” said defense attorney Per Overbeck. He said other cases against two of his clients had collapsed before they reached court because the anti-piracy organisation realised it had little chance of a conviction.

Overbeck’s assessment that recent High Court rulings make it virtually impossible to get individuals convicted for illegal file sharing are supported by a recent report from Denmark’s Ministry of Culture.

It says IP addresses can be used only to identify the person paying for the Internet subscription, not the person who actually downloaded the files. The courts have ruled several times that in terms of evidence, an IP-address alone is insufficient to prove guilt.

In one case, a defendant walked free after arguing that that someone else must have accessed his wireless router to download copyright infringing material.

It seems the rate of convictions is unlikely to increase until the anti-piracy groups find a method of proving who was sitting at a particular keyboard, on any particular computer, at any given time.