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US film giants appeal in file-sharing case

Christine Demsteader · 6 Jan 2010, 12:28

Published: 06 Jan 2010 12:28 GMT+01:00

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A list of 14 companies, including Disney Enterprises, Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures, have lodged an appeal to force Swedish broadband operator Portlane to shut-down a so-called tracker, a device they state is being used illegally to simplify file-sharing.

In early December, Stockholm District Court denied the film companies’ demands and concluded that Portlane’s main business activity, supplying internet access, could not be considered as a contribution to copyright infringement.

The movie moguls are now countering the court's decision. They claim that by offering bandwidth along with the tracker it is simpler to find and download illegal files via the internet.

An appeal was consequently lodged before Christmas and the case will now be heard in Sweden’s Court of Appeal.

According to an article in Wednesday’s Svenska Dagbladet, Portlane’s tracker is suspected of replacing a device from the controversial Swedish file-sharing site The Pirate Bay.

The film companies state that Portlane has not done enough to put a stop to suspected file-sharing and the operator must therefore take responsibility.

For the less technologically-minded, the appeal document uses an analogy which compares Portlane’s actions to a landlord who turns a blind eye to a tenant performing illegal sexual acts for financial reward.

“An example of a similar type of contributory responsibility is a landlord embroiled in pimping,” the document states. “It is not enough that the landlord attempts to persuade the tenant to put an end to their actions if they do not then stop.”

Story continues below…

Speaking to Swedish Radio after the District Court verdict, lawyer Jonas Forzelius, representing Portlane, was confident that the company would come out on top.

“What the court has said in this interim decision is that taking the side of the film companies in this matter would result in far-reaching consequences for any internet operator,” he said. “And that has been Portlane’s take on the case all along.”

Christine Demsteader (christine.demsteader@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

14:25 January 6, 2010 by Hamish
sock it to the big gun´s!!

I personally don't buy,hire or even download any films most are a load of rubbish these days anyway i would happily hire or buy a English film as they are rather good to watch

Disney Enterprises, Universal Studios and Paramount Pictures can all rott in hell as far as i am concerned these companies are just fat greasy pigs!!
16:40 January 6, 2010 by uunbeliever
I agree Hamish! Put out a movie that is not a piece of crap and I will pay to see it. Why do we have no way of demanding our money back for a faulty product? Can we sue Paramount for misrepresentation? "Your honour, Paramount said this was the biggest hit of the year. It in fact sucks, I want my money back plus damages of 250 000 dollars." Ha ha ha.
17:07 January 6, 2010 by peropaco
Agree with all of the above. The film industry should be happy someone is willing to take the time to download and share their crappy movies. In the whole 2009, I did not see one movie worthy of any accolades. I say run them out of business.
17:52 January 6, 2010 by Rick Methven
This is the thin edge of the wedge. First we have FRA tracking our every key stroke and now we have the big media moguls wanting to control what we can or cannot do on the web.

I do not and never have downloaded any film or music that I have not paid for But to have these grabbing American sods trying to dictate to Sweden what WE should do really gets up my nose.

They want

"to shut-down a so-called tracker, a device they state is being used illegally to simplify file-sharing."

Typical American lawyers they make a statement without any real evidence and just because they are big shots Swedish ISP's should just bend down and be shafted.

The original court decision was right allowing these guys to get away with this would set a very dangerous precedent give them an inch and they will take a mile.

Most probably the lawyers will be demanding names and IP addresses of anybody on the Local who posts against them: LOL
18:42 January 6, 2010 by peropaco
@ Rick Methven, Most probably the lawyers will be demanding names and IP addresses of anybody on the Local who posts against them: LOL

That thought has crossed my mind but for other things. What do you think the Local would do? They will give us up in a heartbeat. Dollars speak louder than ethics
19:02 January 6, 2010 by eZee.se
Well, I for one download nearly all my stuff as a sign of public protest (safely behind a VPN of course, FRA and IPRED can kiss my @ss - a few seconds after i put on my computer and 3 clicks later i am behind my VPN so if thelocal as peropaco pointed out does sell us out... best of luck to them and anyone else trying to knock on my door.. but back on topic, ) but when something good does come out, for example Avatar, I did spend silly theater prices to go and see it as well as spend on overpriced popcorn and soda. As an another example, I did the same for "The Dark Knight" even though i had seen it via p2p.

Gone are the good ol' days for Hollywood when people would just go see crappy movies and all they could do after seeing crap would be to b!tch about it...now you dont HAVE TO see crap AND pay for it.

Download, sample... if crap... delete and tell all your friends.... repeat as needed.
19:34 January 6, 2010 by voidplay
The prostitution analogy was excellent

Disney for one is known to mistreat animals, the retriever pups in Air Buddies were suffering from Parvo virus - an ugly disease that eats into their internal organs and kills by dehydration and flooding the lungs with blood, guess who got priority the pups or the movie ;-)
19:51 January 6, 2010 by Raul el australiano
I do not know about Sweden, but back in Spain there is a special tax on CD´s and DVD´s therefore I believe I have the right to download copyright material, as I have already paid for it...

Nevertheless, I recently downloaded a screener of AVATAR (do not try to track me, as I am using my neighbors wifi) and I think it is worth seeing in the cinema.

So there you go you big thieves... I will put more money in your fat pockets because I downloaded a bad quality screener which served me as a teaser...

It is a win - win situation for them...
22:46 January 6, 2010 by DAVID T
All the above posters should work for free - why not? You lot make me sick - there are so many jobs being lost in the movie industry because of thieves like you.
23:02 January 6, 2010 by RoyceD
David T... honestly you need to open your eyes. What jobs are being lost? How about they stop paying Julia Roberts $30million US per movie and then they could save some precious dolly grip his job.
23:23 January 6, 2010 by dizzymoe33
I don't believe in downloading illegally and I have never done it. But I find it interesting that the US companies are creating a big stink when in fact I know people who download from other countries which is a loop hole. If the person is a US citizane then that person can download let's say Avatar from Sweden and it is legal. I don't quite understand it all but people have already found ways around the illegal ways of downloading. Sorry if this is confusing.
23:51 January 6, 2010 by krigeren
Their landlord argument does not hold any water whatsoever.

The argument is that portlane is a common carrier, infrastructure, like a highway.

We don't sue the owner of a highway if a car driving on it crashes into another car due to negligence by the driver.
10:32 January 7, 2010 by DAVID T
RoyceD ....If someone offered you $30million for a years work would you turn it down? I doubt it - so what if she gets paid that much money - if you think about all the jobs created from sets, distributors, stores, movie houses etc etc it's worth it - or should we all steal the movie and screw the workers and their families?
11:55 January 7, 2010 by dstergiou

The studios need to realize that we are in a new era, where technology allows options that just wasn't there 10-15 years ago

Today i can afford a near-cinema experience in my own home. A projector (or big screen TV), a decent sound system and a recliner will give me at this point a better experience than cinema. Therefore, if i have to choose between the two, 9 out 10 times it will be watching a movie at home

If the studios want less piracy, they could try to:

1) Release the movie at the same time to cinema, DVD and online. Then people can decide how they want to watch the movie and pay a fair price for it (obviously cinema will have to be the most expensive, DVD the second and online the least expensive)

2) Stop producing so many movies and produce fewer but better movies. Seriously, after watching "Jennifer's body" i wanted to burn my TV

3) Rationalize the fees. If the actor gets $30M, then the script writer should make at least the same amount. This will lead to better movies or at least kill the huge actor fees
12:00 January 7, 2010 by chapora
Well said David T

at last someone speaks out for decent behaviour. Illegal downloading is stealing and whatever bs people droll out to excuse their actions does not change the basic fact that if you download illegally then you are no better than a shoplifter. So please everyone spare me your ranting about boo hoo "overly wealthy" film companies you are just trying to avoid your own responsibilities by making everyone else responsible for you. To the person that says they download via their neighbours wifi. You even expect other innocents to pay for your thieft. What a great example of a human being you are. (not).
12:09 January 7, 2010 by dstergiou
@ chapora

"Illegal downloading is stealing and whatever bs people droll out to excuse their actions does not change the basic fact that if you download illegally then you are no better than a shoplifter."

how is this even true?

when you shoplift something, you create a damage because one less item will be available for sale. An item that it was paid for by the shop owner and the shop owner won't see any return on investment

when you "steal" a movie, the movie is still there. The studio has spent x amount of money to make the movie, and that amount does not change, even if the movie is watched by 1 person or 1 billion people

The studio does not have an actual damage, it only has "potential loss". But it also has a "potential loss" in the case where you see the film, you don't like it and you tell me to NOT go an watch it. It has potential loss when a newspaper reviews the movie and says it's crap. It has a potential loss cause.. cause i wanted Danny DeVito to be Spiderman, and since he didn't got the part i am not going to watch Spiderman. You see where i am going here?

Can you explain again how is this similar to shoplifting?
12:16 January 7, 2010 by canam
Agreed dstergiou. When I was young my first job was in a shopping mall. Several of my co-workers stole items from time to time, claiming that it was "ok because the mall makes so much money and I get treated like crap." There is no difference no matter how you slice it.

A better protest is to stay home from the crap movies, read some reviews, and rent it for 3 bucks on your mini-home theatre.
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