Frequently Asked Questions

Read our FAQ on the topic.

What does sharing mean?

The illegal sharing that we monitor happens on the BitTorrent peer-to-peer network. BitTorrent is a technology based on distributed file sharing that is intended to distribute files as effectively as possible to an unlimited number of recipients. Each BitTorrent user is sharing the file forward to the other network users. The sharing may occur while the file is being downloaded or viewed. BitTorrent technology by itself is legal, but it is commonly used for illegal file sharing.

Downloading copyright-protected works from an illegal source, even for personal use, is in violation of Section 11(5) of the Copyright Act. A BitTorrent user does not only download files for their own use; they are always sharing them for a larger audience. This is more harmful than simply downloading files for your own use.

How is sharing observed? 

The IP address and other technical details originate from a public peer-to-peer network that anyone can access. An expert connects monitoring software to the BitTorrent network and downloads a sample of a file shared without authorisation. This reveals the sharer’s IP address.

The name and address for the subscriber line owner were received from the network operator. Pursuant to Section 60 a of the Copyright Act, the Market Court has ordered that the information must be disclosed to the attorney. The law requires the operator to disclose the information in such a scenario. This applies to all operators.

Why do I need to pay compensation? 

According to Section 57 of the Finnish Copyright Act, making a work available to the public without authorisation results in a liability for compensation. Compensations are used to offset the financial losses incurred by the rights holders by unauthorised sharing. Paying the compensation also offers an opportunity for settling the matter between the parties without having to involve the police or a court of law. 

The primary goal of the enforcement is to eliminate online piracy and guide consumers towards legal services. 

What is the basis of the sum requested in the letter? 

The sum we present in the letters comprises two parts: compensation and a fee which, according to the law, must be paid to the rights holders for copyright infringement.

According to Section 57(1) of the Finnish Copyright Act, making a work available to the public without authorisation results in a liability for compensation. The illegal distribution of a film or TV series episode has an unlimited audience on the BitTorrent peer to peer network; therefore, the magnitude of the compensation does not correspond to the purchase or order price of the work but instead the economic loss caused by the distribution.

The Market Court has considered that €100 per film and €50 per TV series episode are reasonable compensation for infringement. The amount of compensation may be increased by case-specific features, such as the higher financial losses caused by sharing unreleased material.

Sharing on a peer-to-peer network does not happen by accident, and it results in a liability to compensate for the costs of analysis and monitoring of copyright infringements pursuant to Section 57(2) of the Copyright Act. The compensation fee consists of technical analysis, legal work, court fees and costs incurred on the network operators. Even though the analysis requires expertise in many fields, the comprehensive enforcement system allows for bringing down the costs of analysing a single infringement. In addition to the compensation, the fee is €400 per each rights holder represented by us whose works have been infringed, and €50 per each infringed title.

What will happen if I do not contact you or if I ignore the letter? 

We recommend that you contact us and clarify the matter. This ensures that we do not file an unnecessary request for investigation with the police regarding a copyright offence (Chapter 49, Section 1(3) of the Penal Code) or present a demand for compensation at the Market Court. Most court cases are started against recipients who have made no attempt to contact us at all. By contacting us, you ensure that no trial will be necessary.

Will I receive a new demand letter if I pay the compensation? 

If the compensation is paid, we commit to not making new demands even if the subscriber line had been used for wider unauthorised distribution of works before the letter was received. Once the compensation has been paid, the matter is settled entirely. The only exceptions are cases where the same person resumes the unauthorised activity. 

Who has authorised Hedman Partners to send these letters? 

Hedman Partners works under the authorisation of and at the request of the rights owners. Our task is to intervene in the unauthorised distribution of files. Sending the letters is based on the Finnish Bar Association’s rules, according to which an effort must be made to settle matters amicably before they are taken to court. Together with the rights owners, Hedman Partners has offered the recipients the opportunity to compensate for the rights infringement by paying a reasonable sum.

What will happen if I do not pay the requested amount? 

Paying the compensation offsets the infringement. When the observation is clear and the recipient of the letter knows who the infringer is, we recommend that you pay the compensation. It allows for settling the infringement with the rights holders without a trial and its related costs. 

The subscriber line holder is a party to the matter and the primary suspected infringer. If there is any real ambiguity regarding the infringement, we recommend that you help us determine which of the subscriber line’s users must pay the compensation. 

It is also possible to claim compensation by initiating legal proceedings or a police investigation. We have had to initiate numerous legal cases against people who have refused to compensate for their infringement or negotiate on the matter.

Does Hedman Partners have pending court cases against letter recipients?

Hedman Partners has pending court cases related to copyright enforcement.

You can enquire about the number of pending civil cases by contacting the Market Court.

Pending criminal cases are not made public before the prosecutor has decided to press charges.

What can I do if I suspect that the network operator has incorrectly disclosed my information? 

The subscriber can request the network operator to check the information on the IP address holder. Please note that the IP address may have changed after the operator checked it, since IP addresses change periodically in consumer subscriber lines. If the earlier holder of the subscriber line has moved house without notifying the operator, the subscriber line for the old address may still be under the earlier inhabitant. In this case, we recommend that you notify the operator of the move and provide us with an account on the matter. 

Why is my IP address different from the one in the letter? 

Consumer subscriber lines use dynamic IP addresses that change from time to time. If your current IP address is different from the one shown in the letter, the IP address has most likely changed. The operator has provided information on who was using the IP address when the infringement was observed. Your computer’s IP address may also be its IP address on the local area network. You can check your public IP address here, for example: https://www.whatismyip.com/

Why is copyright being enforced? 

Online piracy incurs significant economic losses on the entire culture industry and society. Financial insecurity reduces the profitability of film and TV series productions, resulting in fewer employees being hired and productions being started less often. 

By enforcing copyrights, we are gathering compensation for film and TV series creators who suffer losses due to piracy. At the same time, we aim to reduce piracy and guide and encourage consumers to use legal services. The films and TV series we enforce are available in Finland via streaming services, stores and cinemas, usually at the same time with the international release. For a small country like Finland, it is important that authors and producers can safely release their films and series here without fear of piracy.

 

Is the enforcement having an effect?

According to a questionnaire carried out by Taloustutkimus Oy, the letters have clearly reduced the use of pirate services (Tekijänoikeusbarometri 2017). In addition to the results of the questionnaire, monitoring the amount of BitTorrent traffic has also shown that, in Finland, the use of the peer-to-peer network for piracy has declined following the start of the copyright enforcement. A similar decline in the use of peer-to-peer networks has not been observed in other European countries that have similar legal services but no equivalent piracy monitoring process.

 

 

Where can I find additional information on the topic and my rights? 

The Ministry of Education and Culture has compiled information on copyright enforcement on its website. The site contains information on enforcement targeting private individuals, such as regarding the rights, liabilities and obligations of the rights holders and letter recipients.

The Ministry of Education and Culture also reminds us of the legal right to demand compensation from those who infringe upon rights. The site also recommends avoiding situations where copyright infringement may occur and encourages the use of clearly legal content services.

The website maintained by the Ministry of Education and Culture can be found at the following address (in Finnish): http://minedu.fi/tekijanoikeuksien-valvonta