Two Danish men were arrested on Tuesday morning on charges relating to copyright infringement of media and internet piracy.
Both of them owned website domains that informed Danes on how to use the popular website Popcorn Time to watch movies and series illegally.
The content on both sites has now been replaced by a text from the Danish State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime’s office stating that it is “presently conducting a criminal investigation that involves this domain name.”
Both of the men have already confessed to the charges laid against them, meaning that they each are facing prison sentences up to six years.
Michael Hellensberg from the State Prosecutor’s office explained that the arrests were meant to demonstrate that engaging in internet piracy has legal consequences.
“This case is important because it first and foremost demonstrates that the police can take action against this [internet piracy, ed.]. That has a consequence, and it also has a consequence if you instruct on how to do something illegal or enable them to do so. We hope this has a deterrence effect in the sense that people won’t feel safe engaging in such activities from wherever they want,” Hellensberg told TV2, adding that users of the sites should be aware that they too could face punishment.
A media expert told broadcaster DR that while he applauded the arrests, putting a stop to the online distribution of pirated material is next to impossible.
“Everything that gets shut down will pop up again and interested users will find their way to it,” media analyst Claus Bülow Christensen said.
Fans of illegal internet streaming may also be in for another blow this week as a local Danish district court is set to rule on whether access to 20 international streaming websites should be blocked, among which is the Swedish site swefilm.tv.
The case was brought against the sites by the Danish Copyright Alliance (Rettighedsalliancen), an organization representing over 85,000 copyright holders in the music, TV and design industries.
Head of the organization Maria Fredenslund noted that this case was significant due to the number of sites being targeted.
“It’s the first time we have a single case with so many illegal sites, and that’s because it is crucial to not just target one site at a time. That won’t have much of an effect since users will just move on to another site if one closes down. This time, we’re hoping to block the 20 most popular piracy sites instead,” Fredenslund told TV2.