Legal Environment

By Jimmy Hoesan

Every country has its own copyright law. The pirates always try to find a country with a “weak” copyright law. From a little research, it is found that The Pirate Bay, which is a Sweden company, has its server to be run in Germany. The Pirate Bay follows all Germany’s law and regulation regarding copyright. Other countries can only blocked The Pirate Bay website to be accessed in their countries, but only Germany government can order The Pirate Bay to shut down their server.

Each country is trying to protect the right of the artists and music producers with its copyright law. This session will provide information about copyright law from different countries.

1. The United States Copyright Law

The U.S. has a really strict copyright law. The penalties for violators are up to five years in prison and $250,000 in fines. Even for personal use, people who download or upload music illegally would be hardly punished (RIAA, 2011).

This is a list of The United States copyright law (RIAA, 2011):

  • Even for personal use, the penalties can run up to five years in prison and/or $250,000 in fines.
  • If something is expected in return for music files trading, anyone can be sentenced to as much as five years in prison.
  • Even if profits are gained or not, anyone is still liable in civil court for damages and lost profits of copyright holder.
  • Copyright holders can sue anyone who illegally copy or distribute their copyrighted works for up to $150,000 in statutory damages.

 2. The South Korea Case

South Korea released a three-strikes copyright law in 2009, which forbid everyone to download and upload music illegally. The law applies to music down-loaders, up-loaders and the websitesowners that facilitate these activities (Masnick, 2009).

South Korea is the first country that cut customers’ Internet connection for breaking copyright law. Government will also terminate the Internet connection up to six months for everyone who breaks the law continuously three times. Not just the Internet connection, government will also terminate servers or websites that violate copyright infringement three times (Moya, 2009).

However, since most of the violators were teenagers, South Korean police tried to change the copyright law regarding fines for breaking the law. The police asked the government to use summary trials for teenagers who violate copyright law, so the fines will be less than $146 USD. The police believed that this new law will prevent teenagers from committing other crimes to pay the settlement money asked by the copyright holders (Moya, 2009).

While European copyright law is almost the same with United States, there is no data on what exactly the penalties are for every European country. Sweden is one of European countries that clearly state the penalty for violators. In Sweden, the government would not protect the copyright law violators’ personal information. The copyright law requires ISP to provide the personal information of the violators to copyright holders (Borthakur et al., 2010).

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