Denmark hands out prison sentence for sale of pirate books to students

A 26-year-old man has been given a conditional prison sentence for selling unlicensed digital copies of books online.

Denmark hands out prison sentence for sale of pirate books to students
Photo: olegkrugllyak/Depositphotos

The man made 155 sales of the illegal digitized books via Den Blå Avis, a Danish e-commerce website comparable to eBay.

He was sentenced to 20 days in prison by the city court in Fredriksberg on Wednesday. The verdict will not be appealed.

The 26-year-old will not spend time in prison – since the sentence is conditional – provided he does not repeat the offence.

RettighedsAlliancen, an interest organisation for the creative industries, raised alarm over the pirate books after discovering a profile named ‘Michael R’ offering them on the online marketplace, Ritzau reports.

After making a purchase using payment app MobilePay, customers were sent a Google Drive link, from where the relevant volume was downloadable as a pdf file.

The profile was reported to Denmark’s economic crime unit, Bagmandspolitiet.

Several similar cases are currently being investigated by the police section, but Wednesday’s is the first example of a conviction.

The 26-year-old explained to the court that, after struggling to find work after completing his studies, he began making ends meet by selling online digital copies of books that he had previously shared with fellow students.

“I didn’t put so much thought into it to think I was doing anything wrong,” he said.

Confiscation of profits from the scheme, totalling 27,740 kroner, were ordered by the court.

Additionally, the man agreed to pay 34,870 in compensation to copyright holders, in an agreement made with RettighedsAlliancen.

READ ALSO: The festival that must not be named: Danish Harry Potter event to transfigure over rights

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Denmark proposes new law to make Facebook pay for news and music

The government is to forward a bill on Friday proposing tech giants such as Facebook and Google pay Danish media for using content on their platforms.

Denmark proposes new law to make Facebook pay for news and music
File photo: Regis Duvignau/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The proposal will also mean platforms used to share media, such as YouTube, will be required to make agreements with rights holders in order to display videos or music, the Ministry of Culture said in a statement.

A comparable law recently took effect in Australia, resulting in all news pages being temporarily blocked for Facebook users in the southern hemisphere country.

READ ALSO: Could Denmark force Facebook to pay for news content?

“The media plays a central role in our democracy and ensures that public debate takes place on an infrormed basis,”culture minister Joy Mogensen said in the statement.

“If the media are to be able to continue making journalism, they should of course be paid for its use,” she added.

The proposal will provide for rights holders such as musicians or media outlets to be given a new publishing right which will enable them to decide who can use their content.

As such, companies like Facebook and Google will need permission to use the content online.

The Danish proposal builds on an EU directive which gives individual media outlets the right to agree deals with tech giants.

The bill put forward by Mogensen will allow Danish media to make a collective agreement with the tech companies providing for payment when their content is used.

An interest organisation for Danish media companies has backed the proposal.

“We have wanted to be able to enter collective agreements with tech giants because that would strengthen the media companies’ position,” Louise Brincker, CEO of Danske Medier, told newspaper Berlingske. Brincker noted she had not yet read the full proposal.

Media will not be obliged to make agreements with the tech companies, however. Complaints to the Danish copyright board, Ophavsretslicensnævnet, will be possible under the new law, should it be passed by parliament.

The bill will become law on June 7th should it receive the backing of a parliamentary majority.

Both Facebook and Google decline to comment to Berlingske on the matter, stating they had yet to see the bill in full.