MPAA executive admits to tampering with key evidence in Finnish topsite trial

In Finland, a long-running prosecution of six men who were accused of running a piracy "topsite" ended with disappointment for the big rightsholder groups when two men were acquitted and the remaining four got comparatively mild sentences. Now, TorrentFreak sheds some light on the situation with the revelation that the prosecution was forced to admit, at sentencing time, that a senior MPAA executive had tampered with the logfiles that formed a key piece of evidence in the case, and had not disclosed that to the defense or the judge. The MPAA exec made changes to ten files, apparently in a bid to hide the identity of a spy it had employed to infiltrate the group.

The video, a screencast of the investigation, showed a particular username accessing an Angel Falls FTP server. However, the corresponding text log for the same event showed a completely different username.

“When the IFPI investigator was asked about this he acknowledged that the names did not match. He said that the Finnish anti-piracy people and IFPI had collected the information together, but there was also an MPAA executive in the room while the evidence gathering took place,” Hietanen explains.

The IFPI investigator was then asked to reveal the name of the MPAA executive. He declined, but did offer an explanation for the inconsistencies in the evidence.

In an apparent attempt to hide the identity of one of their spies, the MPAA executive edited the evidence gathered during the session.

MPAA Executive Tampered With IFPI Evidence in Internet Piracy Case [TorrentFreak/Andy]

(via /.)


  1. The thing that frustrates me about this story is the lack of discussion of precisely why the MPAA executive isn’t in jail for tampering with evidence.   It’s not even discussed as something that was considered.

    1. And the Finnish anti-piracy investigators and IFPI investigators can have the adjoining cells for permitting the MPAA executive to do this.  Why was he even there?

    2. The sole source for this story is a biased lawyer, so it’s probably safe to assume that if he hasn’t addressed those issues specifically it’s because not addressing them casts the MPAA executive in a worse light.

      1. my buddy’s sister makes $78 hourly on the laptop. She has been laid off for six months but last month her ayment was $20768 just working on the laptop for a few hours. Read more on  Jive8.c­om

        1. I’ve only seen the same biased lawyer’s characterisation of those things, but evidently you are better informed: can you post the screencast, log files and a copy of IFPI investigator’s testimony so that the rest of us can get up to speed?

          1. Evidently not as well informed as you who seem to think that these do not exist even though they are on record as being presented as evidence during the trial and part of the presented sworn testimony.

            Yeah they must just be making it all up because you haven’t seen it personally in your extensive reading of finnish court cases.  That’s the likely scenario…yeah…lol.

            What reason do you have to doubt their existence other then them not
            personally delivering them to YOU for inspection so that the internet
            can be assured of their existence?

          2. You seem to have forgotten who has to back up their argument here.

            I don’t have to be an expert on the Finnish legal system or have seen any evidence in the case to know that the opinion of a panel of District judges who are experts in Finnish law and did see all the evidence needs more to discredit it than the ramblings of some random guy on the internet whose grasp of a broad swath of subject areas is at best questionable.

          3. @boingboing-8b886a5c6d6c17b40bcf17f556616561:disqus  You’re not trying to discredit the ramblings of some guy on the internet, you’re trying to discredit the statements of a lawyer who is actually privy to the evidence and court proceedings whereas you are not.  @redesigned:disqus is perfectly in the right to point this out.

          4. @wysinwyg: Nonsense. It is a simple statement of fact that a defence lawyer’s job is to discredit the prosecution’s evidence and witnesses. He is required to be partisan. The judges, on the other hand, are required to be impartial. As the judges’ conclusions clearly do not match those that redesigned has read into the defence lawyer’s statements outside of court one or other must be wrong. I haven’t seen the merest scintilla of evidence that it’s the judges.

          5.  @boingboing-8b886a5c6d6c17b40bcf17f556616561:disqus “needs more to discredit it than the ramblings of some random guy on the
            internet whose grasp of a broad swath of subject areas is at best

            In this instance this is you.  You are the random guy on the internet whose grasp of the information and access to the actual details and information are questionable to non-existent.  I’m not here to discredit you though, just to simply point out the obvious, that is is unlikely that the lawyer is fabricating the facts of the case just because you with no access to the case find the facts questionable.

            @Stooge:disqus “As the judges’ conclusions clearly do not match those”

            Actually they do.  The fine was reduced from 6 million to 45 thousand euros.  What evidence CLEARLY indicates that these were not part of the trial despite the word of the lawyer who would be guilty of slander and libel if these were fabricated by them.

            Is it possible that a lawyer who would be fully aware of the repercussions of fabricating such statements just made all this shit up?  Remotely but highly unlikely.

            Is it more likely that you don’t have any special privileged information or access to any of this case information and have no tangible reason for doubting the facts of the case other then your personal bias?  Highly likely.

            Occam’s razor leads me to believe the lawyer until the time that a single scrap of evidence points otherwise.  If you cannot produce even a single scrap of evidence that he is lying then you are the random rambling guy on the internet making assertions that are baseless.

          6.  @boingboing-8b886a5c6d6c17b40bcf17f556616561:disqus “You seem to have forgotten who has to back up their argument here.”

            In this case YOU.  You are the one trying to cast doubt on the lawyers statement, this article, and the other articles on this case, so you are the one who should present a tangible reason for said doubt or else you are calling bs with nothing but baseless accusations and hot air.

            I am simply reiterating the facts of the case as presented by this and the other articles on this case.  I am not trying to discredit anyone, that is you, so back it up please or admit that you have no basis for your claims.

  2. By now, it should be obvious to anyone that it was Aaron Swartz’s own damn fault that he was prosecuted and prosecuted so relentlessly: He refused to wear Armani suits and  well-polished Berlutis.

    The unnamed MPAA executive, I’m sure, DOES wear the requisite Wall St. uniform and thus will automatically be excused from having to face any consequence from breaking the law.  Only the little people have to follow the law.

    I suspect that the only reason Bernie Madoff is in jail is that he was wearing Florsheims in court.

    1. Nah, Madoff is in jail because he stole OTHER RICH PEOPLE’S money. That’s the key. As long as you only steal from the peasants it’s all good.

      1. I’ll resist the strong urge to explain to you what sarcasm is, by planting tongue firmly in cheek.

        Continuing in the same vein:
        He was in court because he screwed rich people, I agree.  But Madoff was convicted because, at the time, he wore shoes that cost less than $1,500.

        1. I think Cornan is now resisting a strong urge to explain to YOU what sarcasm is.

          His choice of sarcastic remark was in addition and/or replacement to yours.  That is all.

        2. “There goes a thousand dollars.”
          “Your shoes cost *a thousand dollars*?”
          “That one did.”

  3. And if one part of the evidence was tampered with, how can we trust that no other part of it was? Why isn’t it a complete mistrial?

    1. You beat me to that question.  Excellent question.  I gather Finnish law has some significant differences from what I am used to.

        1. “we don’t have mistrials, as far as I know.”

          that is *frightening*…yikes.  i hope you are wrong about that or there is just a different term that covers trials that have to be thrown out because the evidence is fixed or tampered with.

          1. *sigh* Because different countries does it differently doesn’t make it wrong. But I guess the US court system is the poster boy for fair and just trials, that all other court systems should me modeled after.

          2.  *sighs* did i say any of that?  nope. not a single straw in that man in your reply relates to what i said.

            the ONLY thing i said is that it is frightening to conceive of any legal system of any country that doesn’t have a mechanism in place to handle mistrials…which is why i go on to say i hope that poster is wrong and that they do have a mechanism in place to handle mishandled trials because no system is infallible.  full stop.

          3. It’s not the US court system. It’s Common Law, which is used in much of the world.

  4. I’m moving to Finland this summer, I hope I don’t have worry about all this stuff Iv’e been reading lately. This is probably a bit of a selfish of me, but maybe it highlights how short sighted the Finnish Governments policies are in regards to file sharing. I am a member of a large demographic of 20 something creative professionals that could potentially bring my skills to their country and bolster their economy. Most of my peers rely on file sharing not only for entertainment purposes but so they can access very basic tools in order create and produce their work. I can see that instances like this could scare away potential interest from people like me looking to work or establish themselves in Finland. 

    1. Every country that has signed the alphabet soup treaties will have restrictive copyright laws. Within the limits of those treaties Finland actually has decent policies. Sentencing scales are lenient for first time offenders and in a prior case a court ruled broadband internet access is a human right (compare that with three strikes laws elsewhere). National rights agencies are primarily looking out for their own artists and rights holders, piracy of international stuff is of secondary concern, so just stay away from Finnish stuff and don’t turn into a major warez distributor.

    2. And what country are you from where there aren’t any copyright laws?

      You might want to read up on laws and culture here in Finland, if this is some kind of surprise for you.

    3. I remember back in the day, Finland was pretty much on the cutting edge of privacy rights and all that good stuff. was the host of nearly everything even slightly controversial because everyone knew they’d fry their machines before give anything up to the Man. 

        1. “how much of their people’s rights they’ve relinquished to the corporate greed mill.”
          Apparently you are now an expert on Finnish people’s right after one post. So care to enumerate which rights we have reliquished to the Corporate greed mill?

          1. First of all, I never claimed to be an expert on Finnish rights.  Why all the straw men?  Please stop arguing against your own injected false flags, it is unbecoming and silly.

            I was simply lamenting how a country that was once considered a bastion of human intellectual rights has signed those all away by signing onto the DMCA series of laws.  It was a sad day when that happened for many people.  Sweden took up the fight for a while, but rights there have been diminished as well.

            Rights such as fair use, freedom of speech, ownership, dirivitave works, etc. etc. etc.  You seriously can’t live in a country and NOT know of what i speak can you???  Do you not agree??  Were you happy to see these rights reduced, diminished, and removed and the protection of corporate intellectual properties over the rights of people be strong armed into your government by the WTO?  These new laws didn’t originate with your people or in your country, your country was bullied into adopting them.  Certainly you must know all of this and just be being argumentative for the sake of being contrarian.


            etc. etc.

  5. “The IFPI investigator was then asked to reveal the name of the MPAA
    executive. He declined, but did offer an explanation for the
    inconsistencies in the evidence.”

    How about we decline to allow you to operate in Finland until your willing to respect the rule of law then?

    Of course we could show Joe Biden that the MPAA once again is tampering with the legal process, but he’d just parrot whatever they told him to.

  6. Well from that article is seems that the prosecution was undermined: “Two men were completely cleared and the four who were found guilty escaped with suspended jail sentences. The six million euros in damages claimed by the rightsholders was reduced to just 45,000 euros”

  7. I now support corporate personhood. I also support the corporate death penalty.

    Hey, you got what you asked for, I’m just following the logical conclusion.

  8. “About mistrials and evidence:

    Finland has no mistrials. There is no “illegal” evidence, either – how you got the piece of evidence does not matter the slightest in the courtroom in the case in question. (You can be prosecuted for any illegal activity later on, though.) The evidence presented in the court is the evidence that the court bases its decisions on. The court is free to decide whatever it considers best, so if the evidence isn’t up to par, then this should be explained in the decision. I have not seen the decision in question, but normally the lawyers’ / defenders’ job is to break the evidence and show the court that it is not trustworthy. I would guess that the logs having been tampered with together with the IFPI investigator’s refusal to explain the situation in full has affected the outcome of the case: two people were cleared, according to the law firm’s blog. 


    The local logic is the simply the following: if the prosecutor can’t prove the defender guilty, the defender goes free. If nobody applies in the given time, the decision holds and that’s it. End of story.

    And to why the MPAA executive isn’t in jail – well. In the countries with functioning legal system the police investigates first, then the prosecutor prosecutes and then the court decides whether or not to throw the suspected wrongdoer in jail – not the other way around.”From a friend who know the finsh system well.


      And to why the MPAA executive isn’t in jail – well. In the countries
      with functioning legal system the police investigates first, then the
      prosecutor prosecutes and then the court decides whether or not to throw
      the suspected wrongdoer in jail – not the other way around

      I’m pretty sure that what people mean by “why isn’t he in jail?” is “why hasn’t he been duly charged with and convicted of a crime?”.  Your bud’s condescending remark isn’t really relevant.

      But apparently Finland’s justice system doesn’t have any rules about admission of evidence so maybe tampering with evidence is just fine there.

      1. Maybe, maybe not.

        Obstruction of justice & falsifying evidence in most jurisdictions require mens rea: if MPAA guy just changed the user ID of his spy in the log entries to [REDACTED], then that might be a very hard sell.
        Of course, the further possibility remains that this is merely a spot of FUDding by the defence lawyer.

        1. I was responding to a comment that included this:

          Finland has no mistrials. There is no “illegal” evidence, either – how you got the piece of evidence does not matter the slightest in the courtroom in the case in question.

          And this:

          In the countries with functioning legal system the police investigates first, then the prosecutor prosecutes and then the court decides whether or not to throw the suspected wrongdoer in jail – not the other way around.

          It seemed to me that admitting that there are no limits on admission of evidence while at the same time implying that it is other countries have non-functioning legal systems deserved a snarky comment.  If you reread my comment you’ll see that I don’t actually argue that the guy should be charged with evidence tampering anywhere.

          1. Rest assured I was never remotely interested in your opinion about whether MPAA guy should be charged and thus could not have misinterpreted it.

          2. I’m the Finnish friend in question here.

            There are some rules of admission of evidence, but none that would be of any relevance here. (It’s mainly stuff about whether there’s a time limit after which new evidence cannot be presented and what constitutes original evidence.) Whether the piece of evidence has been gathered legally or not is not really relevant at all.

            Falsifying evidence and obstruction of justice do appear in the criminal code (or at least something that’s close enough), so yes, if the MPAA guy has lied in court, he will have consequences to face. Deliberately lying when under oath is punishable by jail. Whether there is police investigation going on, I cannot say for sure as that information is not public. The prosecutor is, however, per default by his/her office required to begin police investigation when he/she suspects a law having been broken, so I’d be very surprised if there was no investigation going on.

            Normally it takes approximately a year for a case to appear in the court. It takes a while for the police to investigate and write the end report, which then is delivered to the prosecutor’s office. The prosecutor then decides whether to press charges or not. If he or she does, the case will be delivered to the court. There is lack of funds all over the system, both in the police, prosecution and in the court system, so every step takes at least three months. It means that if the police investigation has started this month, we can expect a trial in a year or so.

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