Last year the movie industry anti-piracy group ACAPOR delivered boxes full of IP-addresses that they alleged had engaged in illegal file-sharing to the Attorney General’s Office of Portugal. The group wanted the AG's office to act against these 2,000 alleged pirates, saying that they were doing anything they could to "alert the government to the very serious situation in the entertainment industry." Fast-forward to the present day and the AG has a decision that the group is not too pleased with..
Portugal's Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DIAP) looked into all of the complaints the group submitted and came to the conclusion that the 2,000 IP-addresses submitted will not be brought to court. What's worse is that the prosecutor overseeing the investigation comes to the conclusion that file-sharing for personal use is not against the law and the IP addresses do not represent "people."
"From a legal point of view, while taking into account that users are both uploaders and downloaders in these file-sharing networks, we see this conduct as lawful, even when it’s considered that the users continue to share once the download is finished," an order from the DIAP reads.
The prosecutor goes on to say that the right to education, culture, and freedom of expression on the Internet should not be restricted in cases where copyright infringements are non-commercial.
As for the IP addresses, the ruling comes to the conclusion that the person connected to the IP address "is not necessarily the user at the moment the infringement takes place, or the user that makes available the copyrighted work, but rather the individual who has the service registered in his name, independent of whether this person using it or not."
ACAPOR boss Nuno Pereira vocalized his disappointment with the ruling and accused the prosecutor of being lazy:
"Personally 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 said.