Have you heard of the nine-year-old whose Winnie the Pooh laptop was confiscated during a police home invasion related to copyright infringement for downloading a single album? TorrentFreak has some very interesting commentary about the subject. Apparently, a girl downloaded a single music album (and the download wasn’t even playable, it was broken or corrupted) and when the father refused to cough up a $600 “settlement fee” to a copyright authority, they had the police bust in and search the place, resulting in the confiscation of the young child’s laptop. The evidence was an IP address.
That’s right. An IP address was the evidence that the home invasion was based on.
Oh, sure, you could say that they got the subscriber information for who was leased the IP address, but the premise under which it was retrieved was that “IP address xxx.yyy.zzz.qqq is committing copyright infringement!” The lesson here is clearly to never live in Finland, since that’s all that is apparently required for a corporation to get the local cops to bust your door down and search your residence. The problem for the police and the copyright cops is that they didn’t end up targeting some tax-paying adult citizen off of that IP address “evidence,” they unknowingly went after a nine-year-old girl and took her laptop away.
You should read the TorrentFreak post for more information. It’s pretty interesting to think about. I’ve already mused on the reasons why accurately resolving an IP address to an infringer is nearly impossible, and this is one more real-world nail in that coffin. The interesting part for me is that the download in question wasn’t even functional; when the father found out the daughter was trying to download the music, he went out and bought the album in question for her. Even despite that, they still invaded the house and caused all that trauma and stole the laptop from the little girl. What a crock of you-know-what.