A 9 year old girl had her laptop seized by police after attempting to download music from the file sharing site ‘Pirate Bay’.
The action was brought against the girl’s father by Finland’s anti-piracy organisation ‘Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre’ (CIAPC) when they traced an IP address that they claimed had connected to the ‘Pirate Bay’ site and had downloaded music by Finnish ‘artist’ ‘Chisu’.
Initially, the CIAPC demanded that the father of the girl pay 600 euros AND sign a non-disclosure agreement to keep the whole affair quiet. The father flatly refused and the CIAPC (being well aware of the absurd situation) then escalated their claim by involving the police, who were then obliged to confiscated the girl’s’ Winnie The Pooh’ laptop, but were apparently not informed that the alleged ‘criminal’ was a 9 year old girl.
The father of the girl claimed that his daughter did not have the technical knowledge to intentionally download a torrent, and that her attempts to download the music had failed. He then bought the album for her the next day.
He said that on the day of the early morning police raid it felt like the Mafia were at his front door demanding money. He went on to say “This is the pinnacle of absurdity. I can see artists are in a position, but this requires education and information, not resource-consuming lawsuits.”
To resolve the matter, the father was forced to pay a 300 euro fine by the CIAPC to prevent a criminal investigation by the police. A spokesman for the CIAPC , Antti Kotilainen, said “We are very happy. In a way, we just continued the original negotiations from where we left off. We reversed the call for an investigation because we reached an agreement with the girl’s father.”
The extremely heavy-handed approach of the CIAPC has been attracted criticism from the public, ‘Chisu’ (the artist), and Finland’s Minister of Culture.
We certainly do not condone copyright infringement, but this kind of disproportionate approach does nothing to nurture the cooperation of the public. When people see organisations such as the CIAPC stomping all over a nine year old girl who has been encouraged by the media to admire and adore pop idols, is it any wonder that this kind of thing happens, and will continue to happen.
Perhaps if corporations were not so greedy (and the fact is that the corporations take the lion’s share of sales – not the artist) and made the artist’s work affordable for the intended market then more people (including children) would be able and willing to buy it. Corporations are quick enough to manipulate the public to want their products.
What has this experience done to the 9 year old girl? What will be the future damage to her from being involved in this ridiculous, heavy-handed approach? A lifetime of guilt and shame? Hate and disgust? Children are vulnerable and sensitive, and can carry negativity created by a situation like this for the rest of their lives.
Wasn’t it enough that the father bought the album for his daughter because she couldn’t download it – a sale that the corporation would probably not otherwise of had?