Operator of Popcorn Time Data Internet site is Liable for Piracy, Supreme Courtroom Principles

Operator of Popcorn Time Info Site is Liable for Piracy, Supreme Court Rules


Five many years ago, Popcorn Time was broadly embraced by pirates, many thanks to its capacity to stream torrent information by a person-friendly interface.

This fast increase elevated problem among numerous movie market corporations, who worked challenging to contain the menace by likely right after numerous forks and their builders.

This resulted in the shutdown of various initiatives together with Popcorntime.dk. The web page offered information on Popcorn time and its availability but did not host any computer software by itself. However, it however found itself subjected to rightsholders’ complaints.

The make a difference piqued the curiosity of Danish regulation enforcement which eventually resulted in a criminal investigation. In August 2015, Danish police arrested the alleged operator and Popcorntime.dk was subsequently shut down and placed under the command of the point out prosecutor.

The circumstance was hugely unusual since the area in concern didn’t host the Popcorn Time program. As an alternative, the web page available instructions, data, news content articles, as properly as hyperlinks to web pages where by the software was available.

PopcornTime.dk as it appeared in 2015

In most cases this challenge would have blown more than, particularly since the internet site had a reasonably modest number of consumers. Nonetheless, the Danish investigation activated a prison prosecution, with the operator facing a likely prison sentence.

In 2018, this resulted in a conditional 6-thirty day period jail sentence for the person driving PopcornTime.dk. The court ruled that spreading info about the controversial film streaming company warranted liability for contributory copyright infringement.

The defendant disagreed and appealed the scenario at the Large Court, which afterwards handed down a similar verdict. In a last attempt to have the ruling reversed, the site operator went to the Danish Supreme Courtroom, which introduced its verdict yesterday.

The Supreme Court docket confirmed the decisions of the Significant Courtroom and District Court docket, ruling that the operator of Popcorntime.dk is indeed liable for contributory infringements via Popcorn Time.

In his defense, the operator argued that the prior rulings restricted his proper to freedom of expression and info, which would violate Report 10 of the European Convention on Human Legal rights.

On the other hand, the Supreme Courtroom disagreed. As a substitute, it dominated that the web page was especially designed to focus on possible Popcorn Time people who obtained concrete directions on how to use the software. This is a prison offense, even in the absence of concrete infringements by people, the Court docket found.

The Court therefore assumed that “a substantial selection of buyers of [the operator’s] website have downloaded and utilised the Popcorn Time program and that use of the application, as a general rule, involved copyright infringement.”

The Courtroom upheld the 6-month conditional jail sentence. The internet site operator, who is now in his 40s, was even further sentenced to 120 several hours of neighborhood services and much more than $67,000 in ad profits was confiscated.

Local anti-piracy group RettighedsAlliancen (Rights Alliance) is pleased with the consequence. In accordance to the organization, this ruling is the initial of its type when it arrives to felony contributory copyright infringements.

“The judgment is, as far as we know, the to start with of its type in the EU on the authorized foundation of criminal contributory copyright infringements,” Legal rights Alliance Director Maria Fredenslund informs TorrentFreak.

“So it confirms that the internet marketing and tips on the internet sites are in point contributory infringements, even however they are not relevant to any particular copyright infringement, but rather to the infringements linked to the Popcorn Time assistance in standard.”

The Supreme Courtroom ruling could have far-reaching repercussions for other web-sites that offer information and facts about piracy solutions. While the mother nature and function of the internet site nonetheless play a job, operators simply cannot simply just cover at the rear of the simple fact that they really don’t host an infringing software on their server.

A copy of the Supreme Court verdict (in Danish) is offered below (pdf)

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Written by David Minister

By David Minister

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