A draft legislation of Italy could see users being banned from the Internet after just one alleged copyright infringement strike, and in Sweden, the Swedish Film Institute is embroiled in a scandal in which their own IP address has been identified as one used for online piracy.
Members from Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's PdL party have drafted changes to the copyright law that, experts say, could lead to a "one-strike" system, in which users getting caught allegedly pirating music and movies just once could get blacklisted from being able to connect to the Internet. Paolo Brini from ScambioEtico, a group calling for copyright reforms, says that the draft law could lead to such a scenario, and it could also force ISPs to install filters to block "offending" content. Any ISP that do not comply with the rulings could be help civilly and criminally responsible for any copyright abuse committed by its subscribers.
Brini noted that the draft law was compliant with an earlier draft of the controversial ACTA, which was subsequently watered down due to strong criticism from many quarters.
Meanwhile in Sweden, the Swedish Film Institute (SFI) is facing allegations that its own IP address was used for pirating movies. DoubleTrace, a firm tasked with tracking BitTorrent usage for anti-piracy purposes apparently discovered that the SFI's own IP address was being used in swarms that were distributing popular locally made films.
The SFI, after conducting an internal audit, found no evidence that someone working for the institute had been deliberately downloading or uploading pirated films, but like many faced with the same allegations, with only an IP address as the sole evidence, the SFI was unable to identify the exact culprit. The argument that many have made, that IP addresses is not good enough an evidence to identify an individual, seems to apply here.
The matter is complicated by the fact that the SFI seems to only use one outfacing IP address, in that all users on the same network all appear to be using the same IP address when connecting to outside networks. The SFI also operates an open Wi-Fi network, which would also allow visitors to the SFI center, which also includes a cafe and cinemas, to get online using SFI's IP address.
The SFI have requested more information from DoubleTrace to help narrow down the precise time and location of the offending act(s), but again like many individuals on the end of copyright infringement allegations, SFI have met with little cooperation from DoubleTrace in helping to track down the real pirates.
Facing a storm of negative publicity, the SFI should still consider itself lucky that, unlike what's being planned in Italy, Sweden won't be introducing a "one-strike" policy when it comes to Internet disconnections. Not yet, anyway.