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14 August 2008
The Åland District Court has ordered an internet service provider to terminate an internet connection due to copyright infringement under the Copyright Act (404/1961, as amended). This is the first time that an internet connection has been terminated under copyright legislation in Finland and, as far as is known, within the European Union.
The Copyright Information and Anti-piracy Centre (TTVK) filed an application at the Åland District Court for an order to terminate the internet connection of the Åland provincial government. The aim of the application was to end the distribution of copyright-protected material (a significant amount of music files) through the provincial government’s internet connection by one of its employees.
The district court's decision was based on Section 60(c) of the Copyright Act, according to which a court may, upon the request of the copyright holder or its representative, order a service provider acting as an intermediary to terminate the distribution of allegedly infringing material, unless such termination would be considered unreasonable. When assessing the reasonableness of the termination, the rights of the distributor of the allegedly infringing material and of the copyright holder shall be considered.
The decision has been criticized in the media by the Electronic Frontier of Finland ry (Effi). Effi referred to a report published by the European Parliament (A6-0063/2008) which stated that “criminalizing consumers who are not seeking to make a profit is not the right solution to combat digital piracy”. Therefore, Effi concluded that the non-commercial distribution of files should not be sufficient grounds for the termination of an internet connection. In contrast, the TTVK noted that, in addition to infringing the exclusive rights of copyright holders, distribution through peer-to-peer networks poses a significant data security risk; in some cases sensitive information has been leaked on the Internet due to employee use of peer-to-peer software on their employers’ computers.
For further information on this topic please contact Rainer Hilli or Mikko Manner at Roschier Attorneys Ltd by telephone (+358 20 506 6000) or by fax (+358 20 506 6100) or by email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
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