Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Czech Supreme Court on Filesharing


I just returned from the Hannover, the mind empowering conference, and immediately bumped into this case. Case No. 5 Tdo 31/2010 (hereinafter as Ladies don´t watch pornography case [Huťko´s working name]) is a criminal proceedings against an alleged Czech filesharer. The Czech Supreme Court reversed his conviction in this decision from 27 of January 2010. The reversal is based on the erroneous determination of law in case. The trial will continue before the regional court which is bound by the Supreme Court findings.

Some legal background
Filesharer was convicted to four months in jail upon a sentence of one year probation and also to forfeiture of his personal computer and 14 CD and 24 DVDs. Decision was issued by regional court in Kutná Hora (6 T 166/2008). Defendant allegedly infringed copyright and related rights by sharing (through DC++) more than 93 GB of copyright material and by installing various computer programs (100ish) for personal use without any licence agreement. County court in Prague upheld the sentence in appellate proceedings (9 To 383/2009). Conviction is based on the following assessments and evidence:

[1.] IP address of defendent´s computer repeatedly connected respective DC++ hub according to expert´s opinion. Findings of this expertise have been also confirmed by defendant´s internet access provider which matched the IP address with certain customer. However, defendant claimed that at time when the crime was committed he wasn´t the only person using computer/internet in his flat. His girlfriend has been sharing the very same computer with him. Though the evidence on this fact was conflicting, the court rejected to carry out any further evidence [the first ground of reversal].

[2.] The regional court assessed that defendant´s girlfriend had not enough skills and education to use DC++ because she works as a tailor. On the other hand, defendant works for an computer accessories producer. Court didn´t mention that his responsibility in company is to administer the property and the golf course instead of serious IT work. The Supreme Court stated that at the first glance there are loads of manuals for DC++ available in Czech. As a consequence filesharing should not require such technical skills as referred by the regional court. The Supreme Court asked for expertise on the issue of claimed intricacy of using DC++ [insufficiently proven].

[3.] All of above mentioned nuances has the regional court overcame by plain reasoning that computer also stored the pornography (one file of Jenna Jameson - Baby Doll) which is unlikely for lady to watch and store. The Supreme Court rejected assessments based on [1.] and [3.]. As a consequence it did not found proven beyond reasonable doubt that crime was committed by the defendant as the reasoning based on the ground [2.] was insufficiently developed.

So ladies never watch pornography ? :) For the entire ruling in Czech please refer to my Scribd website - here.

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