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Finnish law firms have sent letters to tens of thousands of internet users in recent years, accusing them of copyright infringements and demanding settlement fees ranging from hundreds to thousands of euros.
Finnish law firms have sent letters to tens of thousands of internet users in recent years, accusing them of copyright infringements and demanding settlement fees ranging from hundreds to thousands of euros.

 

Joni Hatanmaa, a lawyer at Hedman Partners, has been issued a reprimand for failing to comply with the copyright act and rulings by the Market Court of Finland, reports Helsingin Sanomat.

Hatanmaa and Hedman Partners gained notoriety last year by sending intimidating letters to internet users suspected of copyright infringements, asking them to pay up to thousands of euros in settlement fees or challenge the alleged infringement in court.

The Finnish Bar Association’s supervisory board issued the reprimand after determining that Hatanmaa and Hedman Partners violated sections of the copyright act by filing petitions with the court to compel internet service providers to disclose the personal details of internet users suspected of copyright infringements.

Hatanmaa and Hedman Partners, the board explained, only named a single client in their petitions despite the fact that the internet users had allegedly violated the rights of several copyright holders and that the details were used to benefit several clients.

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An appeal against the ruling can be filed with the Helsinki Court of Appeal.

The Finnish copyright act stipulates that copyright holders or their representatives have a right to file a petition with a court to obtain the personal details of internet users who are suspected of sharing substantial amounts of copyright-protected material in peer-to-peer networks. The petitions are granted or denied on a case-by-case basis by the Market Court of Finland.

Hatanmaa told Helsingin Sanomat that the issue boils down to differing interpretations of the copyright act.

“We follow the law in all our operations. The supervisory board viewed in its ruling that the copyright act prescribes that the petition process should’ve been handled differently on commission from multiple clients,” he commented to the newspaper on Saturday, 14 July.

Hedman Partners, he indicated, is intent on continuing to protect the rights of its clients whose copyrights have been violated.

“If you’ve violated copyrights in a peer-to-peer network, you can still be held accountable. The reprimand dealt purely with interpreting the law during the petition process on how the petition should be drafted to be able to hold people accountable.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva
Source: Uusi Suomi

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