Denmark: Sentence and fine for seller of seedboxes that enabled illegal sharing

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Rights AllianceOn February 28, the Danish owner of an online service company was convicted for selling seedboxes and server capacity, 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 from November 2020 to May 2021.

The Danish Rights Alliance filed the case when its investigation showed that seed boxes offered by the Danish company were used on a large scale for the illegal sharing of Danish-produced entertainment content. By making seedboxes available to users of illegal file sharing services, the convict helped to optimize access to and use of the aforementioned illegal services.

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The offender was given a three-month suspended sentence and DKK 300,000 (about US$42,700) was confiscated.  In addition, the Danish Rights Alliance received DKK 298,660 (about US$42,500) in compensation.  “The authorities take infringements of copyright seriously,” said Jan Østergaard, special prosecutor at NSK, the Danish Special Crime Unit (National enhed for Særlig Kriminalitet).

Central part of illegal ecosystem

Seedboxes and VPN services can be used to make illegal file sharing more anonymous by hiding file sharers’ IP addresses and replacing them with those of the seedbox or VPN provider, hiding the identity of illegal file sharers.  A seedbox also allows the sharer to delegate distribution to a reliable outside resource with good upload and download speeds, instead of using his or her own resources for that purpose. File sharers are willing to pay for these features, and providers see this as a market opportunity. 

 While seedboxes have become a central part of the illegal file sharing ecosystem in Denmark and the Nordics, seedbox and VPN providers store payment information, name and address and IP addresses of their customers, which the police and rights holders can access.  

Further reading:

Provider of Illegal Seedboxes convicted in case of illegal file sharing.  Press release, February 28, 2023. Danish Rights Alliance (Auto-translated from Danish to English via Google Translate)

Why it matters

“The Rights Alliance is very positive that a verdict has been reached in this case. It helps paint a picture of the illegal market as much more than just backers and users. There are many more layers in the illegal market that have a responsibility,” said Maria Fredenslund, Director of the 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. Therefore, this case helps to send a signal to other providers that you cannot deliberately sell services to the illegal market.” 


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