Copying music and movies on the Internet is legal in Portugal

The news broke out today, but I think this has wider impact and interest than just the Portuguese reader, so I decided to, shamelessly, simply translate the news article that can be found originally (in Portuguese) at Exame Informática.

Only the italics (well, and possible language and translation mistakes) are mine, the rest belongs to Exame Informática.

At the beginning of 2011, the Portuguese Association for Audiovisual Commerce of Cultural and Entertainment Works (ACAPOR) made titles in the Portuguese newspapers for having presented a complaint to the Portuguese Republic's Attorney General (PGR) of two thousand Portuguese Internet users that used P2P services to share allegedly ilegal copies of movies (by leaving boxes filled with paper prints of "proof", and they were accusing not persons but IPs).

After a little more than one year, the Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DIAP), that has the objective of analyze complaints to PGR that are then forwarded to the Public Ministry, published a devastating dispatch to ACAPOR's pretensions.

Besides the several notes to the procedures followed by ACAPOR, DIAP delivers a dispatch that risks marking the history of the defense of author's rights in Portugal. Here's an excerpt that just arrived to our office: «More over, in the legal point of view, and even if we put in this kind of networks the question regarding the user being simultaneously in the digital environment as both an uploader and downloader of the files to share, we see the actions by the participants licit for private use - art. 75 nr. 2) and 81 b) from CDADC, - even if one can think that when the copy is done the user doesn't stop his participation in the sharing».

While considering that the Authors Rights and Related Rights Code (CDADC) doesn't make the use of file sharing networks (P2P) illegal, the dispatch from the Public Ministry recognizes the merit of ACAPOR's actions for alerting to the need of rethinking the judicial questions related to the defense of the authors' rights of movies, music and software in the digital age. But even in this point the DIAP investigators leave a message - and remind that the defense of the authors' rights must be applied having also into account «the right to education, culture, freedom of action in the cybernetic space, specially when just freedom is limited to the individual being in nothing related with commercial questions, with the profit of the mercantile activity».

In the same dispatch, the DIAP and Public Ministry responsible confess that it is impossible to investigate the distribution and download of illegal copies in the Internet using the IP address. According to the investigators, accusing someone using the IP address as a bases is «erroneous», since the titular of the IP address used in the Net access «isn't necessarily the user in that specific moment, isn't necessarily who shares the work, but the one who has the service in its name, independently of using it or just formally figuring as its holder».

The Public Ministry refers, based on the analysis that it made of the CDADC articles, that only in cases where the author (and we assume no one else, even if the CDADC refers also artists, and producers) expressively forbids it you can consider a crime the public sharing of a work.

The dispatch also implicitly criticizes the way ACAPOR has dealt with the process, highlighting that the association that represents video rental stores didn't present any document showing that the movie(s) author(s) did forbid the «public sharing».

The article goes on, but this is the important part. If you want to read more about this (also in Portuguese), see also the news at TeK.

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