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Portugal’s prosecutor punts P2P case

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Portugal has decided that personal P2P file-sharing is legal, and that an IP address isn’t sufficient evidence to launch actions against users, reports Exame Informatica.

APACOR, the Portuguese entertainment trade association, had launched a complaint against two thousand P2P users it accused of illegally sharing movies, the technology site reports (Google translation).

The tactic has now blown up in APACOR’s face, with prosecutors from the attorney general’s department deciding, after a year-long investigation, that the users had not committed any offence.

DIAP – the Department of Investigation and Penal Action – has decided that non-commercial file sharing isn’t illegal, even though P2P software continues to make a file available for sharing after the user has watched the movie or listened to the song.

The prosecutor also stated that copyright protection needs to take into account the “right to education, culture, and freedom of action” on the Internet, Exame Informatica reports.

DIAP also determined that an IP address, while identifying a subscriber, does not necessarily identify the individual responsible for a particular infringing download.

APACOR has stated its intention to launch local legal action to overturn the decision, and to take its case to the European Commission. According to TorrentFreak, the trade body’s head Nuno Pereira believes DIAP’s decision means it simply couldn’t be bothered pursuing so many actions: “I think the prosecutors just found a way to adapt the law to their interest – and their interest is not having to send 2,000 letters, hear 2,000 people and investigate 2,000 computers,” Pereira is quoted as saying. ®

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