In their zeal to excise the cancer of copyright-infringing downloads, a Finnish anti-piracy group sent police to the home of a nine-year-old girl, where the coppers confiscated her Winnie-the-Pooh laptop.
The Pooh-impounding plods were unleashed upon the young lass by the Finnish Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (CIAPC) – aka Tekijänoikeuden tiedotus- ja valvontakeskus ry (TTVK), if you're Finnish – which had detected her attempt to downloaded a tune by Finnish pop star Chisu from The Pirate Bay.
It seems that the prepubescent malefactor, as TorrentFreak tells it, couldn't afford Chisu's latest song stylings, so she used her offending laptop, graced with Alan Alexander Milne's beloved bear, to search for the track online – first Googling it, and then sailing into The Pirate Bay in tuneful pursuit.
There she was spotted by CIAPC/TTVK, which contacted her father and demanded that to avoid prosecution he fork over €600 (£485, $773) and sign a non-disclosure agreement promising to keep mum about the settlement.
Daddy apparently answered with the Finnish equivalent of FOAD, because at 8am this Tuesday he and his tytär were visited by search warrant–armed police, who seized the laptop as evidence of the youngster's illegal song-searching.
"It would have been easier for all concerned if you had paid the compensation," the police advised the girl's father, according to TorrentFreak.
"At that point my jaw hit the floor," the father said, "and I wasn't sure if I was awake or dreaming. So the investigator suggested, between the lines, that I empty my wallet and keep my family in hunger for the next two weeks so that they could get rid of the case? What the f—— ... is this how it goes? I could evade justice by skipping Christmas this year?"
Ironically – and somewhat chillingly – the young girl hadn't even succeeded in her attempt to download the Chisu tune, and she and her father had actually purchased the tune the next day. We add "chillingly" because her failure to download the tune from The Pirate Bay means that CIAPC/TTVK was acting not on an actual copyright-infringing download, but instead on a mere attempt.
For her part, Chisu wants nothing to do with the controversy, and issued a statement saying that she didn't want to sue anyone, that the matter was out of her hands, and that the publicity was thoroughly unwelcome.
"I hope that the matter will be resolved soon and sorry to my nine-year-old girls," she wrote, and suggested that said girls enjoy her music for free on Spotify.
As Joonas Mäkinen of Finland's Pirate Party told TorrentFreak, "It is sad to see how even the big artists have no idea what CIAPC/TTVK is doing in their name. And the worst part is that even after learning about this, like Chisu did just now and took part in the discussion on Facebook, they can't stop it since all copyright protection and monitoring is centralised." ®
To our US readers: the young Finnish girl's fate – if not the laptop confiscation, then certainly the harassment – may soon be your own, should you incur the wrath of the Center for Copyright Information (CCI), a monitoring system similar to CIAPC/TTVK that AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Verizon will begin using next week to ferret out copyright infringers.