The wisdom of the half-witted crowds.

By now you probably heard, most likely on The Drudge Report, about the ten-year old girl in Finland, who had her laptop confiscated by mean old police because she downloaded some music illegally and her father, Aki Wequ Nylund, made a post about it how horrible the mean old people who support artists rights are because it's like a ten year old girl, man, and you're stealing her laptop and stop the insanity!

Of course we heard the news through the objective and not one-sided at all Torrent Freak Blog.

But thankfully the very objective and not one-sided at all Pirate Bay promised her VIP status, so I guess it means she can steal music at a faster rate or something. And someone else, an anonymous benefactor, donated a laptop to replace the one the evil police took.

Notice how there are very few named in this story? Also the enforcement people, the anti-piracy people who want to ensure artists get paid for their work? Nary a mention, nor a quote. Are journalists lazy or what? Even for the interest of the story, wouldn't you want to know how an organization would allow this to happen?

I got in touch with Jaana Pihkala, Deputy Director and Senior Legal Advisor For The Copyright Information and Piracy Center or CIAPC (i.e. the people in question) to find out what exactly was going on from their POV. Here is what Pihkala told me:

CIAPC represents a wide range of rights holders in Finland, including the music sector, who have appointed CIAPC to work against piracy.

In October 2011, popular Finnish artist Chisu’s new album “Kun valaistun” was released. CIAPC monitored the initial illegal file-sharing of the album on Pirate Bay. CIAPC did not monitor mere downloading of the album (which seems to be the common misconception in the media). However, the BitTorrent technology usually works so that the person downloading a file is automatically also sharing it to other downloaders.

A complete evidence package was gathered from 67 file-sharers using Finnish IP-addresses. In 28 cases, CIAPC sent the evidence to the District Court of Helsinki, asking for a court order that obligates the illegal file-sharers’ Internet Service Provider to reveal CIAPC the contact details of the Internet account holder behind the IP-address.

The request for the court order is based on the Finnish Copyright Act Section 60a . Before giving the order, the District Court verifies from the evidence package that the copyright infringement has occurred from the mentioned IP addresses as stated by the applicants.

CIAPC then sent a letter to 28 people. The letter states that a copyright infringement has been noticed from the Internet account holder’s IP address. It also tells possible consequences of copyright infringements in general and the account holder is kindly asked to contact CIAPC in order to discuss the matter. During these discussions, a settlement is proposed if deemed justified.

In the case in question, the father refused to settle the copyright infringement with the rights holders, so CIAPC had no other option than to ask the police to investigate the circumstances of the file-sharing.

CIAPC, the District Court or the ISP cannot know the details – for example the age – of the person who used the BitTorrent client behind a household’s IP address at the time of the surveillance. In fact, CIAPC still doesn’t know who used the BitTorrent client in the case in question, as it is still under police investigation. It was the father of the 10-year-old girl who publicly stated that he instructed his daughter how to find the album online.

CIAPC can only act within the boundaries of the current law which does not permit rights holders to tackle illegal piracy in more efficient and softer ways. CIAPC and the music sector has presented the matter to the government and suggested a graduated response program where ISPs would send education notices to Internet users who distributed files without permission. Such measures have been successful outside Finland but the Finnish government has not yet taken steps to ensure that such a program could be introduced to enable rights holders to pursue a more proportionate approach to fighting piracy.

So there you go. You'll either agree, or you won't. At least now you know the other side of the story.

But wait! There's moar! This is the best part. Believe me, you'll love this. Chisu, the artist the ten year old's father showed how to steal her album on a torrent site, came out on her Facebook wall saying that while she supports artist's rights, she doesn't support this kind of punishment.

You'd think her Facebook fans-- you know, the ones who actively liked her page in order to make comments-- would want to say something positive about her stance. After all, isn't it her right to make a living? The people who commented in English (and I'm willing to bet from their names, they aren't Finnish, or live in Finland, or understand Finnish without the help of Facebook's horrible Bing translator) didn't. As evidenced by the above photo. I don't know about the Finnish comments but in English this is what is being posted on her page.

This is modern copyright discourse: Someone who has fooled themselves into believing once it's online it's merely '0's and 1's, except you know, you can sing along to it. Because you see, calling it by another name means it's okay. And two other people have nothing to contribute except launching personal attacks against her, as if she had anything to do with the whole thing.

Keep it classy, Freehadists!

AnonymousCoward's picture
AnonymousCoward's picture

It is entrapment no matter which way you turn the page. You just can't put a stack of CDs in the middle of a square and leave them overnight not expecting people to 'find' them. If they take one they are merely picking up what was left there. Besides, in 2009 a court hearing in canada revealed that about 40% of music leaked online through file sharing networks was done purposely by the record companys as part of their campagne. They created a precedent to download illegally by doing this.

Thereby, I found most song of the album by Chisu on YouTube, released through official channels. They are the same creative copyright, the same 1/0s. Better they make a damn good argument.

kidsleepy's picture

The damn good argument is this: if I own the copyright (musicians, or music labels,) it is my CHOICE to release it for free if I want to. If you own a home, it's your choice to let people in. If you do not want people in you lock the door.

BUT If someone releases it without my consent, then it is illegal. I know thats hard to wrap your head around, so you may find this article interesting. What it essentially means is, without copyright law, music labels, and people who walk through the middle of the square disregard the price tag attached to the cd's and just take them are clearly, knowingly, and cynically exploiting artists.

Of course it should be up to the music labels and musicians to be forthright as to what they are doing. The study in canada you mentioned I suspect is a matter of music labels trying to fight fire with fire. It still doesn't make it right, however. And the very fact there are so many justifications for theft, makes me think most people know it too, whether they want to admit it or not.

And let me ask you this, to use your analogy one more time: There's a person in that square putting up all those cd's. His name is Kim Dot Com. And he sells ad space in the square. Ad space that made him a billionaire. No one gave him permissions to upload all that music. He just did it anyway. My question is, doesn't it bother you at all that while artists are being exploited by people running through that square there are one or two people making shit loads of money off of this practice? This has replaced the mean old record industry with something far sinister, more cynical and more detrimental, in my opinion.

Dabitch's picture

Entrapment? Seriously now in criminal law, entrapment is conduct by a law enforcement agent inducing a person to commit an offense that the person would otherwise have been unlikely to commit. This is more like a sting operation. "a person would not be a victim of entrapment if the person was ready, willing and able to commit the crime charged in the indictment whenever opportunity was afforded, and that government officers or their agents did no more than offer an opportunity." (source) The person in the household (9-year old girl or whomever) has two options. One is to buy the album on iTunes/Google Play/Spotify/Amazon. The other is a free Bittorrent download. The person chose the torrent download, and also seeded that same file for hours on end. Not entrapment. It's not like she was coerced into robbing a bank or "we'll shoot this puppy" here.

AnonymousCoward's picture

The people who yell at the Pop star on her facebook page are a mob of idiots.

kidsleepy's picture

Yes they are.

AnonymousCoward's picture

As if the artist is the one earning. Adland is as sick as the music industry. This pretty sums up my thoughts:

Dabitch's picture

Apologies, AnonymousCoward above, I'm just responding to your comment here : As if the artist is the one earning..., you see, I have seen this argument before, the one that insinuates that the Record Company Industry are raking home the earnings of talented artists, without ever nurturing artists, seeking out new artists, or in other ways investing their earnings in artists and their creative work.

So sure, lets go with that thought - artists aren't getting enough dough from Big Bad Music Industry™, so lets not pay music industry, goes the logic. And instead of having an industry like the established music one, artists are left to fend for themselves on the internet while locker-box creators like Kim Dotcom's of the world, rake home the cash on various levels of premium pay levels and countless spots for banner ads... without ever investing in any new artists or extending retainers for artists working on new albums.

What I see here is the warped logic that: Artists should not make any money, reign on the internet today. Or artists shouldn't be making money off their artistic work, rather on other areas such as sales of T-shirts, commissioned (commercial) work, and having their videos sponsored by car & cellphone makers. I simply disagree. Not every bit of music is suitable for a Chevrolet ad, and I doubt the Penguin Cafe Orchestra , for example, could survive and hone their skills on t-shirt sales at concerts.

You downloading it for fee doesn't mean that someone isn't making money off it, there's money being made regardless. The real shame lies in the fact that this someone isn't the creator of the work we are enjoying.

If the artists decides to release their work for free, and ask people to download and donate whatever to them that's their choice. If they instead decide to sign with a record label who will not allow you to download for free, that too is their choice. You don't have the right to make that call for them.

(That youtube link is making my point, A random youtube user, NOT Penguin Cafe Orchestra, has uploaded their song, and opted in to sharing the revenue for that pre-roll ad, so now Random Youtube User and Google are making a bit of cash on you listening to a skilled groups work. They however get zip, nada, nilch. Not even enough money to buy a new string if they need it.)

And last but not least: when saying "Adland" in that manner, while on adland, the registered trademark website, it sounds like you're talking about us and not the advertising industry in general. Not cool bro.

kidsleepy's picture

Unless you're recording your music on 4-tracks at home, it costs money to produce an album, with an engineer and a producer at the helm. Where does that money come from? The record companies who want to ensure the bands sound as good as possible. They also spend money to market the albums. And they front the money in a lot of cases, for touring. They are doing this in the hope the record sells and the band becomes successful.

It's the same as the book industry. Random House sends me an advance for a book I've written. They hope it becomes the next Harry Potter, but there are very few of those. the Harry Potter books actually fund the new novelists, just as the Lady Gaga's are creating an economy where a record industry can invest in a new artist.

It's not happening as much as it used to, and the music is sucking more than it used to. And the people to blame aren't the record industry which has been continuously taking a loss the past ten years. the people to blame are the people who aren't investing in the artists, i.e. buying their music or books.

You steal music, the industry suffers and that means companies and musicians and producers and engineers, and people who make album covers for a living and anyone tangentially tied to the industry. You aren't killing off Sony, you're destroying an entire economy.

No one gains anything except Google because they sell ad space on pirate sites, and people like kim dot com, who made BILLIONS by exploiting artists who saw no money at all.

You do not need a fucking degree in economics to understand this concept.

AnonymousCoward's picture

The people who write things like "You piece of demonic crap" on Chisu’s facebook page, does it sound like they care about the artist getting paid for their work?