back to article Portugal’s prosecutor punts P2P case

Portugal has decided that personal P2P file-sharing is legal, and that an IP address isn’t sufficient evidence to launch actions against users, reports Exame Informatica. APACOR, the Portuguese entertainment trade association, had launched a complaint against two thousand P2P users it accused of illegally sharing movies, the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    at last

    some common sense.....

  2. mIRCat


    1. Thomas 4


      On MY planet? What madness is this?!

  3. Steve Carr 1
    Thumb Up

    Some sense at last

    An IP address certainly is always far from enough to identify an individual. Run an open WiFi access point and the torrent sharer could be anyone within range. With a protected network, you still can't tell which computer it was behind the router. And don't get me started on the use of P2P protocols by stealth within a compromised computer, without the knowledge of the computer user.

    And of course this decision will be appealed, in spite of the above.

  4. CmdrX3

    Well please...

    Don't tell Orlowski. If that hack gets wind of it he will only go off on another long winded fact and/or truth redundant rant.

  5. Chronigan

    What the hell is "freedom of action" ?

    1. Lars Silver badge

      Well it's like if I rent a film then I can invite friends to look at it, only I do it curtains down these days.

      1. Test Man

        Lars - isn't that allowed under the terms of the film owners though?

    2. someone up north

      that's is easy !

      that's Newton's third law of motion !

  6. Alan Newbury

    Pot, meet Kettle

    "and their interest is not having to send 2,000 letters, hear 2,000 people and investigate 2,000 computers,”

    So, why don't APACOR just start 2000 civil copyright infringement lawsuits against 2000 account holders and send out 2000 'settlement' letters? Or can't they be bothered either?

    1. nematoad Silver badge

      Re: Pot, meet Kettle

      APACOR, RIAA, MPAA etc. wish to co-opt their governments into acting as unpaid( by the IP holding organisations) enforcers. Handing the costs of taking legal action to the public purse. It seems as if the Portuguese government has decided to refuse the offer and told APACOR that what they were asking for was not an offence in the first place.

      NB. Don't expect the US or British governments to follow Portugal's lead.

    2. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      Re: Pot, meet Kettle

      > The trade body’s head, Nuno Pereira, believes DIAP’s decision means it simply couldn’t be bothered pursuing so many actions:

      > “I think the prosecutors just found a way to adapt the law to their interest – and their interest is not having to send 2,000 letters, hear 2,000 people and investigate 2,000 computers”.

      It does seem like the predicament that would ultimately be met by tax payers is not only the equivalent to payment by stealth if they had decided on the other course of action; it would have amounted to the equivalent of a DDoS attack on the various criminal justice departments wherever the opposite ruling takes effect.

      I can see Britain following suit. Consider what Australia would do.

      It's a good job nobody lives there. Imagine the queues for justice if their population density was on a par with the density of their political master's. In fact it would take a nation as rich and stupid as the USA to enforce such a thing.

  7. geejayoh


    How long before demonoid pops back up on a Portugese server now.

    Pirate bay moving their servers to a sunnier location perhaps?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 5,4,3,2,1....

      "Pirate bay moving their servers to a sunnier location perhaps?"

      Only if they can convince the courts that they obtain no commercial benefit from the venture.

      Basically, this is in the same line as Spain's own case history on this: the public prosecutor won't go against private sharers unless they are at it for profit. If the allegedly aggrieved party can be arsed, they're always free to go with a civil suit.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh, that's it.

    I think I'll have to move to Portugal. Amazingly, not because of the file sharing per se (I rarely use that), but because they occasionally manage common sense in highly emotional issues.

    Highly emotional, this? Oh yes. Did you hear anyone in big entertainment talk calm, rational sense lately? Or did they listen to same when some of their own artists did manage such a feat?

    There's at least one more example (complete de-criminalisation of drugs), and that in a "socially conservative, largely catholic" country.

    Anyway, even if it was a case of the prosecutor just not feeling like going after many individuals, there's still a good point in all this: "IP piracy" only becomes a problem as soon as the "pirate" is using other people's copyrights as (part of) his mercantile operations without compensation. You know, the guy on the market with a stand full of burnt CDs with obviously xeroxed sleeves.

    For home taping aficionados, it's more likely they'll show off the stuff to their friends and generate sales for the owner that way. A copy made doesn't imply a sale lost. If that were the case, promotional giveaways would also have to be classed as "lost sales". Which is not quite how the industry sees them.

    Of course, the industry really laments the loss of total control over their "channel", conveniently forgetting that you can't own the customer, and therefore have no right to control him. At some point, a creative work will have to fly, for if it doesn't get to, it dies. There's a reason copyright was limited to twice fourteen years originally, and there's a reason certain parties have worked long and hard to stretch that manifold. No wonder contemporary pop music all sounds more or less the same, even science has taken notice, and hollywood movies all tell basically the same story: That there's a dreadful dearth of ideas over there.

    I suspect that there'll be appeals, for what these people don't lack is deep pockets. So I'll be watching. But here's to this curiously uncommon thing, common sense, and to the portugese prosecutor.

    One drawback of moving to Portugal, though, is having to learn portugese. Well, can't have everything, I suppose.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh, that's it.

      Quote: One drawback of moving to Portugal, though, is having to learn portugese. Well, can't have everything, I suppose.

      You could learn Spanish instead!

      (remember that Feynman allegedly studied Spanish for a year before moving to Portuguese speaking Brazil to lecture ------ according to this expanded interview he seriously considered a Portuguese sleeping dictionary!!)

      Here in Italy the Guardia di Finanza have let it be known that P2P downloading isn't a big crime unless you start to resell the films; (there's anyway the few euros 'Italian artist compensation tax' on an iPod or Blank CD pack) which I suppose goes to needy individuals like ex-cruise ship crooners who might be PM again....

      Problematically, now that every activity is fully able to be recorded EVERYWHERE on the internet and deterministically replayed several years later, (Australia is considering FOREVER) there's the risk that long after-the-fact analysis and prosecutions - or ACSLaw type letters - could pop-up sooner or later?

      1. ScissorHands

        Re: Oh, that's it.

        @ElReg - it's ACAPOR, not APACOR.

        Next, we portuguese feel perfectly happy speaking english to foreigners, but very miffed when speaking spanish - to spainiards or to foreigners alike. Especially foreigners trying to speak spanglish - just speak english, oqué?

      2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
        Thumb Down

        Re: Oh, that's it.

        there's anyway the few euros 'Italian artist compensation tax' on an iPod or Blank CD pack

        Does the greed of the copyright mafiaa know no bounds? They want to stamp out copying but at the same time they want everyone to pay a tax on blank media (Italy is not the only country to do this).

        Oh I forgot, if you have a CD/DVD burner you're a pirate.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Oh, that's it.

          If you even think about a DVD-RW burning to a blank disc, you're STEALING.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Oh, that's it.

      "One drawback of moving to Portugal, though, is having to learn portugese. Well, can't have everything, I suppose."

      If you want to go the lazy way, you would found that most of the *Portuguese* people speaks english but before learning *Portuguese* you must check how to spell *Portuguese* :)

    3. Chris Hawkins

      Re: Oh, that's it.

      Actually, I live and work in Portugal e já aprendi falar e escrever Português! (I have already learnt to speak and write Portuguese)!!! ;)))

      Lots wrong here but lots right!

      High level of application of latest technologies here. Nationwide 4G deployment is close.

      Some great IT start-ups based around Coimbra and Braga Universities.

      Great Food and wine as well to boot.

      No stigma using Linux as an OS.....people just look in awe at you!

      I also reckon that, together with Ireland, the country may be the first out of the current Euro crisis.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Oh, that's it.

        @Chis Hawkins : "I also reckon that, together with Ireland, the country may be the first out of the current Euro crisis."

        Ireland won't be one of the first countries to the get out of the euro crisis. The fucking idiot government in Ireland think they can tax their way out of a recession, all they have succeeded in doing is sending the Irish economy deeper into recession. Consumer confidence is rock bottom and major stores in Dublin are going into receivership.

        CD sales are down as well but that's only because of file sharing, nothing to do with the economy.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  9. JaitcH

    I guess Portugal's movie industry can't be that big

    In most countries where movie making and records are big business, the industry groups have bought off the politicians (lobbying is a 'nice' word for bribery) and the politicians have dutifully 'honoured' their commitments.

    Nice to know some countries haven't sunk as low as America, Britain or Canada.

  10. Kevin Johnston


    Just waiting for Portugal to be added to Switzerland on the US list of despicable countries that encourage piracy through file sharing. I suspect that Portugal would be even less bothered about it than the Swiss are.

  11. chrisf1

    Isn't it just a civil case?

    Does Portugal have the same distinction between civil and criminal offenses as the UK? No reason why non-criminal (ie commercial fraud) copyright infringement should involve a public prosecutor is there?

  12. MacroRodent Silver badge


    "...and their interest is not having to send 2,000 letters, hear 2,000 people and investigate 2,000 computers,”

    As Portugal is one of those near-bancrupt Southern European countries (the "P" in the well-known acronym), this makes financial sense. That state has better use for the money than chasing some file-sharers.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No wonder they are considered a 3rd world country

    All civilized societies recognise and enforce copyright laws which prevent the unauthorized use and distribution of copyright protected works. Obviously in the ghetto and outhouses of Portugal, they haven't read about copyright law yet, primative lot that they are.

    1. Chris007

      Re: No wonder they are considered a 3rd world country @ AC 0905 GMT

      And copyright infringement is, in most countries, a CIVIL, let me repeat, CIVIL matter and always should be. No particular "industry" should get special treatment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No wonder they are considered a 3rd world country

      "All civilized societies recognise and enforce copyright laws which prevent the unauthorized use and distribution of copyright protected works. Obviously in the ghetto and outhouses of Portugal, they haven't read about copyright law yet, primative lot that they are."

      you forgot your troll icon.... consider yourself fed!!

    3. I. Aproveofitspendingonspecificprojects

      I know your comment was tongue in cheek but...

      There is no valid social reason to have laws against copying. The Sellas of Egypt -even the stylus of writing seems to have been designed for public copying.

      Social mores on drug use might have had a reason in Victorian Britain in the days when Healtrh and Safety laws were not as draconian as they are now. And even today the idea of uncontrolled hard drug use when a victim of them might for example be driving a car, warrants policing.

      But the idea of having laws is to givethe people of various cultures an overall basis for living in peace with their neighbours. The biblical stories of shepherds fighting over wells and such was the main cause of family feuds and skirmishes between tribes and still is in desert areas.

      Laws are supposed to be about sharing, not not sharing. If a man or a group of players achieved what is today called stardon the payment came from a royal pension or from the benevolence of rich benefactors. We still have those sorts of ideas in the form of subsidised arts and charitable trusts set up by rich people avoiding taxes.

      And we still have artists starving even with all the rich companies involved in spinning discs. I don't know any musicians in the pubs locally who are getting any help from the big record companies. In fact I imagine some of the poor artists are having to pay the rich companies. And what for?

      So a few dozen drinkers can hear and perhaps go out and buy the records?

      There is every case to be made for music indutry giants being made to pay performers advertising their wares for them.

    4. Anonymous Coward

      Re: No wonder they are considered a 3rd world country

      Oh my...thank you man, what a good laugh for the weekend! Do you know at all where Portugal is located civilized boy? Primative?? WTF is that?

  14. g e

    "I think the prosecutors just found a way to adapt the law to their interest"

    Boot, meet Other Foot

    That's Karma for ya.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "APACOR has stated its intention to launch local legal action to overturn the decision"

    "legal action", is that what greasing a few politicians' hands is called these days?

  16. Midas

    For once the rule of law trumps gold-digging...

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure the Portugal government won't mind...

    ..if I share in their personal belongings such as their car, house, PC, etc. as long as no money is involved? How could the government object if they deem it acceptable to share copyright protected works? I think after they lose their car, home, wife, etc. to me they might become enlightened on the 20th century phenomena called "copyright" and what it establishes under international law.

    It really is amazing how technical illiterate some governments are. Maybe they are lead by tribesmen?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      My, my, I'll bite.

      That, sir, is a dishonest argument. Or maybe you simply honestly don't know what you're talking about.

      Copyright is a right assigned to "intellectual property" to make it behave like property, in some ways, for a time. It is a legal trick to aid obtaining remuneration for one's intellectual works and does not confer full property status. Conversely, physical property doesn't have some of the traits "IP" gets assigned. To wit, the US government saw fit to institute "compulsory licensing" for several types of copyrighted work, where anyone can use another's copyrighted works with notice and for a set fee, but without permission. And no, it's not the owner of the work that gets to set the fee. Such a mechanism does not exist for actual property. How about we institute that for your property?

      Then again, apparently you see your (would-be, stolen?) wife as property, implying a pro-slavery stance. This seems a bit at odds with what calls itself polite society these days.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: My, my, I'll bite.

        Even a braindead entitled person knows that this decision is contrary to law and ignorant. As far as copyright law goes, it exist to protect art and by allowing people to illegally distribute or use copyright materials, aka "sharing", this is illegal even if the nitwits in Portugal haven't figured this out yet.

        BTW, if some clueless people think it's OK to illegally share copyright protected music/software, then AC is correct that anyone can take use of your personal items under the theory that they are just "sharing" your belongings.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: My, my, I'll bite.

          AC, for as long as they are 'taking use' of my car, they are depriving me of the ability to do so. It's a very different thing (though one could, I suppose argue that it'd be possible for both to use a wife at the same time).

          I don't know Portugals law that well, but I do know that in the UK it wouldn't be contrary to law. Our law says that copyright infringement is only a CRIMINAL offence when done for commercial purposes, otherwise it's a CIVIL matter. To me, what Portugal have said sounds very similar to this. So in other words, if no commercial gain is being made, it's down to the rights holder to sue the infringer. Perfectly reasonable really.

          Copyright law doesn't exist to protect art, it exists to foster innovation. There's a big distinction here, the idea was always (much like with patents) to give the creator control over the work for some time, so they could monetise it, but eventually (14 years later) that work would enter the public domain for the benefit of society.

          The intended aim of copyright was to ensure that society would benefit by creating an environment where creatives could monetise their creations for a short while (and so encouraging them to create), but also ensuring that society as a whole would benefit (by the works entering public domain).

          The situation now is very different, the term of copyright has been extended again, and again and again at the behest of some very large and rich copyright holders. Copyright now gives little benefit to society because in some cases it can be well over a century before the work enters the public domain. Frankly Copyright Law has been perverted to do the opposite of what was originally intended.

          IMHO it's made worse by the fact that, if anything, we probably need shorter terms than the original 14 years. There's so much being made, and society moves on so quickly that even 14 years seems too long for some things (music and film for example), 10 years might even be enough (perhaps with the option to renew for a further 10).

  18. Chris 228

    Won't be sustained under review

    Obviously this matter wasn't thought thru very well.

    Based on this decision a person in Portugal could buy one copy of say Windoze 7, software or a music CD/download and share it with all of their friends who could share it with all of their friends resulting in only one legitimate copy of Windoze or software or music being sold in Portugal and all the other copies would be pirated digital goods.

    You know that this isn't acceptable and won't pass musterd in any legal community. The Freetards are in for huge disappointment.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Silly argument

      "Don't bother us with lots and lots of silly small cases, find the big fish and bring them instead" isn't an argument of absolutes, like you're trying to frame it here, but one of reasonableness. You'll be surprised to find that this is indeed within the prosecutor's remit.

      Not all of us are Americans[tm] who like to stand right on the edge of what's still "within their rights" and then endlessly argue on whether they're right inside or right outside the line, you know.

      Yes, in theory your doom scenario might be possible, just like the lamentable lack of movable barriers at traffic lights allows people to run red lights. Yet most of the time it doesn't happen, so we miraculously do manage pretty well without turning every road crossing into a barriered level crossing.

      It's the same sort of silly argument that says that without forcing everybody to "stay honest", all the time, you can't have honest business at all. This is patently false, yet you hear it time and again from big entertainment fanbois.

      Curious how the copytard(s) here manage(s) but overblown arguments weakened by their obvious hyperbole. I'm afraid you'll have to work on your understanding of copyright and legal practice a bit, dear.

    2. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Won't be sustained under review


      And why should that be the Government's problem exactly? If it's a civil matter then it's down to the copyright holder to bring suit. If they've any sense (as the previous poster just said) they'll sue the big fish. In your scenario it isn't exactly going to be hard to track down who to sue, if only one copy was bought then it must have come from them.

      It's equally 'possible' that no copies would be sold, and everyone would download a torrent. Not particularly likely though. Most people have a sense of what they feel is right and wrong. Sometimes 'right' may be contrary to law, whilst 'wrong' may be something that's actually legal. Laws are there to protect society when people do wrong (in the eyes of the law) but very few people use Law as their sole moral compass. Those who think downloading copies of W7 is 'right' are going to do so even whether the law says you can or not.

      Frankly it's a problem of the business model, selling goods in digital format means they can be easily copied and distributed. There's no reason Government should have to get involved with anything but commercial distribution (i.e. fraud) just because there's an issue in someone else's business model.

    3. vazadouro

      Re: Won't be sustained under review

      "Based on this decision a person in Portugal could buy one copy of say Windoze 7, software or a music CD/download and share it with all of their friends"

      Nothing in the decision says that Microsoft could not take action against the sharers in the civil courts. And win. The only decision was that the state will not prosecute 2000 criminal actions.

      Sharers of music have already been successfully prosecuted in Portugal. One got a two month suspended sentence for sharing Alanis Morissette...

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'll bet money this decison is over turned.

    Judicial process is going to honor copyright laws so despite an incorrect decision in this case, you know this decision will be over turned.

    The Biz model has nothing to do with copyright law. Copyright law protects "art". By law the judicial system must prosecuted pirates when a claim of copyright infringement is made. That's why pirates in denial are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines and why more pirates will do the same. Portugal is not exempt from copyright laws or international laws.

    It doesn't matter how a Biz is operated, copyrights still exists. If a company wants to sell their " digital art" be it software, an O/S, or music, for a Trillion dollars per copy - they are free to do so. No one is allowed under law to use or distribute that copyright protected "art" without paying for it's use, Period. It doesn't make any difference how easy it is to copy or distribute the art, it's still illegal to do so. You can't share it or distribute it without paying for the rights to do so and you must receive written authorization to do so and agree to all terms and conditions associated with the authorization.

    Plain and simpe, this decision is worng and will be over turned.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: I'll bet money this decison is over turned.

      By law the judicial system must prosecuted pirates when a claim of copyright infringement is made.

      Only where it's claimed that the infringement was for commercial gain, there and here in the UK. That's the only time that it's a CRIMINAL offence, and so the only time someone will be prosecuted by the state.

      Everything else is a CIVIL matter, and it's down to the copyright holder to bring the claim.

      Not hard is it?

      1. Vic

        Re: I'll bet money this decison is over turned.

        > Not hard is it?

        It is very hard to convince a man of something when his income depends on him believing the opposite...


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