Anti-Piracy Police Raid on a Nine Year Old Girl in Finland

by JoHarrington

The little girl didn't even manage to download the album, but the police turned up in force. Now the artist and the record label are both trying to live down the resulting furor.

There's a saying that no publicity is bad publicity, but Finnish singing sensation Chisu is doubting that right now.

On her Facebook page, the backlash against actions undertaken in her name has been fierce. Chisu posted a statement from her record label's CEO confirming that she knew nothing about it; and she's directed fans to Spotify, where her music can be freely heard.

'Not in my name' appears to be the underlying theme of all her comments thus far. So if not the artist, then who did benefit from police storming the home of her nine-year-old fan?

Attempted Download by a Child Sparks Police Search

The girl's Winnie the Pooh laptop was taken as evidence, despite the fact that she never actually succeeded in torrenting the pop music.

It's a story which Chisu wishes would just go away.  But forged in the super-heated outrage of the internet, it's going viral instead.

So what just happened there?

It all began when a nine-year-old Finnish fan of the singer didn't quite have the funds to purchase her idol's new album.  She took to Google, then ended up on Pirate Bay. 

Not exactly being your stereotypical evil pirate mastermind, she did something wrong with the torrent.  The album didn't download.

Like thwarted nine-year-olds everywhere, she became upset about it and her father found out. Just wanting his little girl to be happy again, he did a lovely thing.  He took her out to the shop and treated her to said album. Chisu got her royalties; the unnamed girl got to boogie on down to Kun Valaistun; and her parent felt like Dad of the Century. 

That is until he received a letter from Upphovsrättens informations- och övervakningscentral (TTVK).  On the off-chance that your Swedish is as good as mine, that's the Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (CIAPC) to the likes of you and I.

The letter demanded 600 Euros (approximately £485 or $773) to be paid up immediately or else the attempted illegal download would be reported to the police. Also enclosed was a non-disclosure form, which stated that he could not go to the press with this story.

The girl's father, viewing this as extortion, simply ignored it.

A few mornings beyond the payment deadline, the family were just going through their breakfast routine, when a knock came at the door.  Outside were several police officers with a warrant to search the premises.  They had come for the pirate.

At this point, the constabulary had no idea that they'd been sent out for a nine-year-old girl.  But they soon did.  One of them told her father that he should have just paid the fine. The girl's Winnie The Pooh decorated laptop was confiscated and the officers went away.

That's around the point when the story hit first the Finnish press, then the whole internet.

Chisu Sings Sabotage

This was one of the tunes which her young fan utterly failed to download.

Should the Girl's Winnie the Pooh Laptop Have been Confiscated?

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No, because...
lauryallan on 12/10/2012

Most artists nowadays have found other ways to make more than enough money. Perfume, games, clothes, jewelry, concerts, accessories, dolls, books, tv shows and the list goes on. Their music is a great way for them to get famous and then people buy "their stuff" and they make more than enough money.

Piglet on 11/27/2012

It was quite obvious what the situation was. Surely this was the opportunity for a stern word of warning, rather than hitting a kid with the full whack of a police investigation. Taking her laptop disrupts her schooling and for what? I don't quite see how justice was achieved here.

Tiggered on 11/26/2012

Ridiculous.
All this copyright stuff is getting seriously out of hand these days. Further down this road and we'll start closing libraries, charity shops etc. etc. Maybe we should start charging for using words, too? I wonder how much would I have to pay then to make this comment...
I am yet to be persuaded how making a copy can equal stealing. If I steal your bicycle, you don't have the bike, I do - you are plainly hurt. If I make a copy of your bicycle, we will both have bycicles - hurrrah, more of a good thing.
If the copyright battles were really fought in the interest of poor artists, I would be more sympathetic but in reality, it's the nameless bureaucrats in the background who profit and the artist usually doesn't have any idea what's happening (as your example proves).

Yes, because...
Jerrico_Usher on 12/02/2012

no dammit give put the bat down and let the little girl go you bullies!

onetimeuser on 11/26/2012

I wish that we could edit these, I meant "Nine year old girls are older now than nine year old girls twenty years ago, and music actually plays a huge part in that".

onetimeuser on 11/26/2012

Yes, but only because they had made it that far. If it became apparent that she had been using torrents frequently they could then send a nice friendly female police officer to give her a little lesson on copyrights and why it is best that she should save up her pocket money for the things that she wants. That's from the perspective from somebody who he himself is suffering as a result of a digital file being shared for free, on a torrent site. Remember that when you download torrents you aren't just downloading, you are also uploading at the same time, and 9 years old or not..... she would have been helping people of all ages steal that album. Obviously I am not advocating charges or anything too harsh, but the police did not know her age and neither did the record label. Old enough to break the law then old enough to face the consequences, just so long as those consequences aren't anything other than a stern ticking off. Nine year old girls are younger now than nine year old girls twenty years ago, and music actually plays a huge part in that.

Storm Hits Chisu's Facebook Page

The singer admits to feeling 'cornered by shame' as the onslaught of negative comments continues thick and fast.

The great anti-piracy argument is that it's stealing from the artist. 

You wouldn't nick a bike or break into someone's house, so why would you listen to their music or watch their acting without paying?

It's a great argument right up to the point where statistics turn out to be bogus, and those artists who put their work freely in the public domain report that it actually has a beneficial effect.  People who otherwise wouldn't bother checking them out become fans through casual exposure. But these are all debates for another article.  Right now, let's stick with how this is working out for Chisu.

On the one hand, great!  As an artist who sings solely in the Finnish language, she's not exactly Psy gone Gangnam Style.  She is huge in her own country. The publicity of this case has made her name internationally recognized.  But not quite for all of the right reasons.

Above is a screenshot from one of the deluge landing on her Facebook profile. I carefully selected it, as it's one of the few with language clean enough to appear on Wizzley.  It pretty much sets the tone for all of the others though.

I didn't spot a single counter-argument from a fan, which I would have expected given her popularity. Though, when the story first broke, there were plenty in evidence.

Chisu has had to respond.  She's taken to writing, in Finnish and in English, comments which distance her from the raid upon her fan's home.  "Of course I didn't want to sue." She told fans on Facebook.  Then later, "I hope that the matter will be resolved soon, and on behalf of the 9-year-old girl, my apologies."

She also pointed out that she had no direct knowledge of the raid being done in her name. The CEO of her record label, Warner Music Finland, Niko Nordström was prompted to write a statement on her behalf.  It confirmed that she knew nothing about it and warned that it was 'unreasonable that she is being picked on' about it.

In yet another post, Chisu has directed fans to Spotify, where some of her tracks can be legally listened to free of charge.

Meanwhile, it seems like half of the internet is on her Facebook profile, launching personal attacks upon her moral values and demanding that she see the girl right, either with a new lap-top, a visit or intervening to get the charges dropped.

Unfortunately, there is little that Chisu can do about it.  Joonas Mäkinen, from The Pirate Party in Finland, explained to Torrentfreak that copyright issues are centralized in his country.  The demand for money and the raid may have been done in Chisu's name, but she did not order it.  Nor could she stop it now.

Winnie the Pooh Laptop Sticker

Winnie the Pooh in ANOTHER Piracy Story

The irony inherent in this case prominently featuring A.A.Milne's loveable bear has not been lost on those watching copyright issues.

When Disney created its internationally acclaimed Winnie the Pooh animations, it wasn't in perfect legal harmony with the copyright holders.

A.A. Milne had spread his rights out amongst several people, all of whom needed to give permission and claim some royalties off the franchise.  Unfortunately, Disney dragged its feet on that so much that it took eighteen years to sort out.

Finally, each of the recipients sold their copyright to Disney, except one. In a notable twist, the film company even tried suing him in the name of Christopher Robin's daughter Clare.  It was thought that hiding their involvement might make him cough up his rights.  It failed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stephen Slesinger, the last original claimant, died, leaving his widow and children to take on the legal might of Walt Disney.  They eventually lost, when a Los Angeles judge found that the Slesingers had illegally hired a private detective to go through the Disney trash.  Apparently they were after incriminating evidence.

It's intriguing to note that, during those two decades, Disney was technically pirating all images of Winnie the Pooh.  If only it had been Warner instead, the parallels would have been perfect.

Learn More About the Issues Surrounding Internet Piracy

It's not as black and white as the mainstream media portrays. It's something that we should all understand as we plunge into the Digital Age.
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Updated: 12/04/2012, JoHarrington
 
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JoHarrington on 12/04/2012

Which just shows you how good my Finnish really is. >.< Thank you, I'll change that.

Wournos on 12/04/2012

I'm not done reading yet but I just have to say "Upphovsrättens informations- och övervakningscentral" is Swedish. ;)

JoHarrington on 12/03/2012

Thank you very much!

Jerrico_Usher on 12/02/2012

Great article!

JoHarrington on 11/26/2012

It can be one of two major ways (there are more, but these are the usual ones) - the first is the collusion of your ISP. They can track every site you go on, so they just filter out the ones to known torrent sites and provide a list to people like the TTVK.

The other popular one is to set up a 'sting' torrent. Given the girl's lack of success in downloading the album, I suspect that this is what happened in this case. The TTVK (or an associated company) sets up a fake torrent, with the express purpose of noting every IP that attempts to download it. The album was never there on that stream.

Sam on 11/26/2012

Yes, from where did they get the IP, from the Piracy web site itself? Is that likely? SY

JoHarrington on 11/26/2012

They had the IP address and traced it through either their tracking devices or the ISP.

I can sometimes trace an IP address back to its source; and I don't have nearly the kind of software that these people can command.

Sam on 11/26/2012

Let's forget for a moment the whole business of 'little girl with cute laptop', how the heck did the Copyright people get her address??? As for the rest I agree with what RyanK has aid above as I am in a similar situation, SY

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