Ground breaking verdict against 21 operators of Finnish BitTorrent network
Helsinki, 27th October 2006
21 operators of the Finreactor peer-to-peer-network were convicted yesterday by the district court of Turku in Finland. Finreactor was a BitTorrent network that had 10,000 registered users. Fourteen operators were convicted for copyright offences and seven for aiding for copyright offences. The operators were in charge of the technical operation of the system as well as the user control.
The convicted defendants were ordered to pay compensation, damages and expenses of €566,000 to the right holders.
The court convicted the defendants on grounds that they were aware that nearly all the material made available by the service was infringing and that they had acted wilfully. The court held that the purpose of the network was to share as much new infringing content to its users as possible. Users of the network were required to maintain a minimum ratio of uploaded to downloaded content in order to maintain their accounts.
The court rejected the defendants' claim that as operators of the service they were not responsible of the infringement since the content was transferred directly between the users and no infringing content was either stored or transferred through the tracker, i.e. that the centralised part of the service run by the operators should be regarded as simply linking. The court stated that the service should be seen as a whole and the convicted defendants' were directly and essentially involved in the infringing activities carried out by the users of the service.
During three months in late 2004 29,625 terabytes of data were shared through the service, which is equal to 450,000 CD-Roms of data. The vast majority of the content shared was music, movies, software and games. The amount of data shared in these categories, calculated by usual file sizes, show that the users of the Finreactor downloaded nearly 16,000 games, 136,000 movies and 274 000 music albums from the service. This estimate is based on completed downloads only.