A man who rented out servers configured for BitTorrent file-sharing use has been handed a three-month suspended sentence in Denmark. Known as ‘seedboxes’, these pre-configured servers are not illegal per se, but when customers used the devices to break copyright law on known pirate sites, rightsholders held the server provider liable. TorrentFreak reports: Local anti-piracy group Rights Alliance (Rettigheds Alliancen) mitigates all types of piracy but for the past few years, has maintained a keen focus on torrent sites. Working in partnership with the Danish government’s SOIK IP-Task Force, Rights Alliance forced several sites to close down and successfully prosecuted site operators, staff members, and users who uploaded content to those sites. In 2021, Rights Alliance targeted specialized servers that not only supply content to torrent sites but also play a role in boosting download times while improving security.
In 2021, news broke that six people had been arrested in Denmark due to their alleged connections to several local torrent sites. Among them was Kasper Nielsen of internet services company HNielsen Networks, a supplier of servers under various brands that could be configured for ‘seedbox’ purposes. Available information indicated that the servers had been used by an unknown number of users to share content on private torrent sites ShareUniversity, Superbits and DanishBytes. […] When Rights Alliance filed its criminal complaint against HNielsen Networks, the anti-piracy group referenced the landmark Filmspeler case which involved the sale of piracy-configured media players.
According to statements published by Rights Alliance and NSK (Saerlig Kriminalitet) Denmark’s Special Crime Unit, Nielsen was convicted yesterday for selling seedboxes in the knowledge they were being used by others to share movies, TV shows, eBooks and other content, without permission from rightsholders. “On February 28, the Court in Aalborg ruled against the Danish owner behind a seedbox company for, in the period November 2020 to May 2021, having sold seedboxes and server capacity to an unknown number of people, knowing that they were used for illegal sharing of no less than 3,838 copyright-protected works on the Danish and Nordic file sharing services ShareUniversity, Superbits and DanishBytes,” Rights Alliance reports. Nielsen was handed a three-month conditional (suspended) sentence and a confiscation order for DKK 300,000 (around $42,600), the amount users had paid his company to access the seedbox servers. The 35-year-old must also pay compensation of DKK 298,660 to Rights Alliance. “Providers of seedboxes have a responsibility to ensure that their services are not used for illegal uploading and downloading of copyrighted content, which the Rights Alliance can clearly see that they are doing,” says Maria Fredenslund, Director of Rights Alliance. “Therefore, this case helps to send a signal to other providers that you cannot deliberately sell services to the illegal market.”
Since Neilsen took a plea deal at an early stage, none of the claims made by Rights Alliance were needed to be proven in court. “The 3,838 figure and any evidence related to ‘knowledge’ of infringement carried out by seedbox customers on the sites, were accepted as true,” reports TorrentFreak.
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