Why are copyrights being enforced?

Online piracy has a substantial effect on the profitability of culture production. According to an estimate presented in the copyright survey of 2010, the financial value of illegally downloaded films amounts to approximately EUR 195 million per year.

The sales of films and TV series have fallen sharply as illegal downloading and sharing on online peer-to-peer networks has become even easier. The demand for films and TV series has not declined; a large part of the consumption has moved to peer-to-peer networks instead of legal services. Decreasing sales revenue will also lower the number of productions. This will result in fewer jobs in the industry and investors will be less willing to take risks. Only certain hits will usually be produced.

The purpose of copyright enforcement is to reduce online piracy, guide consumers towards legal services and to compensate the rights holders for the financial losses incurred.

Hedman Partners sends letters to owners of Internet subscriber lines whose IP addresses have been observed to be sharing files without permission. We have analysed the IP address together with a technical expert. The contact information has been received from the network operator, as the Market Court has obliged them to disclose the information to us at our request pursuant to Section 60 a of the Copyright Act. The purpose of the letter is to inform you about an observed copyright infringement and offer you an opportunity to settle it.

Enforcement reduces piracy

According to the Finnish Copyright Act, downloading a work from an unauthorised source results in a liability for compensation. Compensation is used to equalise the situation for the rights holders and to put them in a position where they would have been if a copyright infringement had not occurred. Compensation also offers an opportunity for settling the matter between the parties without having to involve the police or a court of law.

The basic purpose of the enforcement is to eliminate online piracy. 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.

Enforcement guides consumers towards using 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.

The users of the illegal service are responsible

Some questions have been raised regarding why individual people are held accountable for online piracy. Downloading copyright-protected works from an illegal source, even for personal use, is in violation of Section 11(5) of the Copyright Act. Even if the intention is to download content for personal use, downloading on a peer-to-peer network means making the file available to other users of the network, which makes it even more harmful. Each user participating in the operation of the peer-to-peer network is responsible for sharing the files.

Simply shutting down websites is not an effective means of combating piracy. Whenever a site is closed, it will almost immediately reappear elsewhere.

Therefore, the only way to immediately intervene in network piracy is to approach individual users of the peer-to-peer network and make the illegal activity stop.