Sweden on the verge of passing the local IPRED law
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The Sweden Government is to pass these days a controversial law that might give the entertainment industry some tools to track down those that illegally share copyrighted material on the Internet.
The law, which is based on the European Union's Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement Directive (IPRED), has been under debate for more than a year and claims to be essential by the Swedish industry which complains that, presently, Sweden lacks the necessary legislation to support them: " Swedish laws are considered something of a joke and our politicians are viewed as arrogant for not taking this seriously. Sweden has the worst laws in this area and, consequently, the worst problems with piracy. It is embarrassing that Sweden has waited so long to put in place a directive that was implemented long ago by our European neighbours." says a letter addressed to the Swedish Government by the director and producers of the Swedish movie "Let The Right One In".
The law, which is planned to come into force on 1 April 2009, would make it possible for copyright holders to get a court order requesting ISPs to provide IP addresses associated with computers which have downloaded copyrighted material without paying for it.
The copyright holders could afterwards contact those suspected of illegal file sharing requesting them to stop the activity. If those in question do not comply, the copyright holders can use the information obtained from the ISPs to sue the infringer and ask for compensation for copyright violations. With this, the Swedish draft law would go even farther than IPRED.
The proposed law faces a large opposition from centre-right political parties and youth organisations. More than 22 000 members have joined a group started by Pirate Party vice-chair Christian Engström on Facebook which is called Stoppa IPRED (Stop IPRED) and which has sent e-mails of protests to Swedish Parliament members.
"We have examples from other countries where this has amounted to the legalization of wide-spread blackmail. Record companies get the name of someone suspected of file sharing and send out a letter demanding 20,000 Swedish crowns (1 800 euros) or some other made up sum with the threat that if you don't pay, we'll be taking you to court" said Engström
In an attempt to answer to these concerns, according to Sveriges Radio, justice minister Beatrice Ask, whose ministry is responsible for the law, has asked for the deletion from the draft law of a clause making the law enforceable retroactively, fact which would have giving the industry the possibility to access information about people who have been illegally downloading copyrighted material over the past few years and therefore to take the respective people to court for actions performed in the past. Another change that seems to have been introduced by the minister is that IP addresses can only be given when the suspected file sharing is "of commercial nature."
The vote of the Swedish Parliament on the matters is expected these days.
Swedish copyright laws 'a joke' (26.11.2008)
Justice minister offers concessions on file sharing law (21.11.2008)
Sweden judges back Pirate Hunter Act (14.11.2008)
Lines drawn in battle over file sharing bill (14.11.2008)
Resistance mounts to new file sharing law (7.11.2008)