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Finland convicts 22 in file sharing case

Chill wind hits 60 in total

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Twenty-two people were convicted of internet piracy in Finland last week. A judge in Turku ordered them to pay fines and more than €420,000 in damages for copyright offences - about €19,000 each.

Software and media companies were seeking damages worth €3.5m in total.

All 22, some of whom are still under the age of 18, were operators or administrators of Finnish BitTorrent tracker Finreactor.

In its ruling, the court said the administrators had intentionally created the service to violate copyright law.

The court rejected the defendants' claim that as operators of the service they were not responsible for the infringement since the content was transferred directly between the users and no infringing content was either stored or transferred through the tracker.

The court argued that the service should be seen as a whole and the convicted defendants "were directly and essentially involved in the infringing activities".

Some 10,000 users were estimated to have accessed the file sharing network, which was operated between August and December 2004. During this time, 29,625 terabytes of data was shared through the service, or 450,000 CD-ROMs of data.

The Finreactor case is the most extensive copyright infringement case in Finland so far. Prosecutors in Turku had originally charged 32 people in the case, and throughout Finland over 60 people are being charged. They will all be tried in their local courts. ®

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