Movie-industry self-piracy proves that IP addresses aren't people, invalidates copyright enforcement schemes

TorrentFreak has excellent analysis of the revelation that a user in the Swedish Film Institute's IP block has been accused of illegally downloading movies in a report from one of the motion picture industry's copyright bounty-hunters. Rather than sniggering at the sight of the entertainment industry being hoist on its own petard, we should be noting this as even more evidence that IP addresses aren't people, and the entertainment industry's legal campaign to sue people all over the world by the hundreds of thousands on the strength of an IP address alone is an unfair and unsuitable remedy for its copyright problems. After all, if the Swedish Film Institute can't figure out who is responsible for downloading movies from its Internet connection, how can a university, employer, or family?
Although SFI acknowledge that the IP address (or addresses) logged by DoubleTrace does indeed belong to them, they reveal that it’s hardly trivial to discover the real-life person behind it. Not only do all of SFI’s staff share that IP, but several tenants (such as film and TV producers) do too. And visitors to their library, and visitors to some of their cinemas, and diners in the restaurant, not to mention those using the open WiFi in the cafe and foyer areas.

As indicated by the way they have been proactive in this case by calling in the police, the SFI really seem to want to get to the bottom of the allegations. They say they have firewall logs that could show when and from where in their infrastructure the movies were being shared.

But – and little surprise here – DoubleTrace, the anti-piracy company behind the allegations, aren’t being forthcoming with their evidence.

“The week before the incident became public we carried out intensive work in which we asked the information technology company DoubleTrace AB and production company Strix to show us the data that they claim to have, to get a chance to see if the sharing actually took place here, and if so, from where,” the SFI explains. “Since we are being denied the material it means that we can not verify whether the information is correct.”

Movie Institute Feels Pain Of IP Address-Only Piracy ‘Evidence’


  1. Rather than sniggering at the sight of the entertainment industry being hoist on its own petard, we should be noting this as even more evidence that IP addresses aren’t people

    I prefer the “all of the above” option, personally.

  2. It’s no secret to a lot of folks just how much motion picture piracy originates from within the industry itself. Rumblings coming down the wire on the dark side reveal a lot of pre-release material is circulating up and down the torrents.

  3. WAIT A MINUTE! IP ADDRESSES ARE MADE OF PEOPLE!! IP ADDRESSES ARE MADE OF PEOPLE!! Well, or is that soylent green? I don’t freaking know…

  4. As Bigelow mentioned, movie piracy was predominantly the work of people inside the industry at one time. Not certain of the numbers today. In the late 1990s I know of one film that a studio sent out piece meal to several development labs. Things were coded. Turned out that half of them put out a pirated version of the film before it was released. (Or was it more than 1/2? Don’t remember.)

  5. I think we see here a new business model emerging, but it is clearly still in its infancy. Why on earth just target randomly some ip:s? Send instead out mass notices to everybody to pony up some money or you will have their net connection cut. Is somebody questions you, well… you surely cannot be expected to prove that they did it, can you? Oh, I can just see the money pouring in!

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