You might think that the police have better things to do than scar innocent children for life by making a martyr out of Winnie the Pooh, but we’re talking about Finland here, where a college education is a citizen’s birthright, and where the epitome of high crime likely has to do with making small talk with strangers at the local grocery store. You have to keep the paid crime fighters busy somehow, but the latest exercise in uniformed time-wasting might be taking things a bit far, even by the standards already set in the sometimes gestapo-like enforcement of copyright law.
Basically, the story goes like this (according to TorrentFreak): the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (CIAPC) in Finland, known locally as TTVK, has made their opposition to file-sharing abundantly clear, acting as the primary force behind ISPs in the country blocking access to The Pirate Bay. Last fall, 28 individual, alleged file-sharers hedged their bets with the CIAPC, opting to settle with the organization for undisclosed amounts. This fall, we see the consequences of one Finnish man who chose not to settle (on behalf of his nine-year-old daughter), and it involves a certain red-shirted cartoon bear being blindfolded, kidnapped, and kept in a dungeon 25 feet underground.
The man was offered a settlement of 600 euros, plus a non-disclosure agreement, and he declined. Last Tuesday, police, search warrant in hand, confronted the man at his home, and ultimately confiscated his daughter’s Winnie the Pooh laptop, which was used in 2011 to download songs from Finnish pop singer Chisu via The Pirate Bay. Is this Finland, or the Lower East Side of New York during the early 20th century? “It would have been easier for all concerned if you had paid the compensation,” the police advised.
The girl’s father subsequently voiced outrage over the entire event: “At that point my jaw hit the floor 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 fuck… is this how it goes?”
And Joonas Mäkinen of Finland’s plain-clothed Pirate Party urged artists to take a stand against the CIAPC’s excessive measures: “I hope all musicians realize that the fan hunt that involves confiscating laptops and signing deals that require you to be silent about the payments are severely hurting the image of copyright and creators. Authors of works should actively rise up to say NO to what CIAPC/TTVK is doing if they wish to keep their fans.”
We’re pulling for you, Winnie.
• CIAPC: http://antipiracy.fi/inenglish