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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Portuguese File-Sharing Lawsuit is Over

6-year-old copyright lawsuit over several songs is finally over. The Portuguese Phonographic Association has started the suit against a 17-year-old back in 2006, and the court decided to grant him a suspended jail sentence plus penalties of 880 euros.


The outfit in question has introduced file-sharing lawsuit in order to drive web users from unauthorized file-sharing to legitimate alternatives. However, the plan didn’t work as they hoped.

Since 2006, the music body had filed over two dozen lawsuits with the Attorney General’s Office, but only a couple of them were successful: the first one was back in 2008 and the second one continued for as long as 6 years.

The defendant in the lawsuit, a 17-year-old boy, was accused of sharing a lot of copyrighted tracks, but for some reason the original claims were reduced to only three songs.

It took the Lisbon Criminal Court 6 years to finally deliver its verdict, which was a 2-month suspended jail sentence. The judge took into account that the defendant was underage and had a clean criminal record before the lawsuit in question, so the sentence was supposed to be replaced by a fine of 880 euros .

Meanwhile, the anti-piracy outfit claimed that it would no longer pursue such strategy, after filing forty similar complaints against the suspected copyright infringers over the last six years.

According to the outfit’s president, 6 years ago it was believed that the existing legislation allowed to start controlling the problem of online piracy. However, the current law cannot deal with Internet file-sharing. That’s why the association asked the government to implement new laws, such as the “three-strikes” regime. The PPA now controls 95% of recorded music in the country, but it seems to face a crisis. Their latest report shows that the last decade’s profits decreased by 80%, and last year the sales of physical products dropped 34.4%.

At the same time, the association, along with blaming piracy and the economic crisis, also cites the lack of development in online alternatives, and the musicians’ new tendency of promoting themselves. Meanwhile, another entertainment branch, the county’s film industry, is also trying to reduce piracy, but lacks the legal support. Nevertheless, it has been successful – last year they have managed to close down 302 local websites alleged to facilitate copyrighted content.

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