P2P file-sharing for private use is legal in Portugal, court rules

P2P file-sharing for private use is legal in Portugal, court rules

Summary: As long as it is not done for profit or commercial gain, Portuguese law does not prohibit people from sharing music and video files online, a judgement has stated after 2,000 people were sued by a rights-holder group.

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TOPICS: Piracy, EU
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The peer-to-peer file-sharing of music and videos is legal in Portugal as long as it is not done on a commercial scale, a court in the country has ruled.

The ruling, reported on Wednesday by the website Exame Informatica, came after 2,000 Portuguese citizens were sued by a rights-holder group called ACAPOR in early 2011. The court effectively found that Portuguese copyright law was so out of date that it didn't take file-sharing into account, and the people who had been sued had not actually done anything illegal.

"From a legal point of view, even though the user is actively uploading and/or downloading the files being shared, we consider as legal the usage of P2P networks as long as it is for private use — even if the user doesn't cease its participation in the sharing process after he has obtained the file," the ruling stated, with the last clause presumably referring to people continuing to seed files after downloading them.

The state prosecutor's office reportedly also said that copyright prosecutions should not prejudice people's right to "education, culture and freedom in the digital environment", particularly when the person involved was not trying to profit from their file-sharing.

An ACAPOR representative was quoted in the article as saying he did not understand how one can share a file and still keep it for private use. ACAPOR will apparently try to have the judgement overturned.

CBSInteractive's Ricardo Oliveira contributed to this story.

Topics: Piracy, EU

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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10 comments
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  • The legal loophole will be

    the fact that a person received a file for free, when he otherwise should have purchased it, he could be considered profiting from it, as he saved himself the cost of purchasing it outright as it was intended to be.
    William Farrel
    • Are you an expert on Portugese law?

      Or are you suggesting that the Portuguese lawyers (and the judge?) involved is this case are just plain stupid?
      D.T.Long
      • Just giving my opinion on possible legel loopholes

        as so many laws have loopholes.

        Though your tone suggest that you're one of those Stalinistic types, where there is only black or white, no possibility of something in betweeen.
        William Farrel
        • Europe

          In Europe generally courts ignore minor technical loopholes. At least here in Sweden if the police for example make an illegal search and finds a crime, you can still get charged. The police may be charged as well, but you don't always walk free like in the US because of the illegal search.
          Oden79
          • That actually makes sense

            I always hated letting an actual criminal go free just because the police made some sort of technical error
            berriend
    • I wonder

      I wonder if that would be another loop hole. Say the person created the digital file from a source they had purchased. Then put that file out there, not for sale so no loss of profit for someone obtaining a file that the original source would not have sold.
      Zheldon
    • copyright

      if i buy a cd i can lend it to you.
      if you make a copy, that is not my business.
      the benefits of copyright were greatly extended in the 2 decades
      preceding now..users were NOT consulted.
      thomas vesely
  • Ridiculous headline

    "P2P file-sharing for private use is legal...."

    Of course it is!!!!! Its legal everywhere! It just depends what you use it for in most places.

    What a stupid misleading headline.
    wendellgee2
  • Kinda like the "oldest profession" joke....

    You got it, you sell it, you still got it!
    ;-)
    kd5auq
  • "Out of date" law preserves people's rights

    "The court effectively found that Portuguese copyright law was so out of date that it didn't take file-sharing into account, and the people who had been sued had not actually done anything illegal."

    Which is to say that they hadn't sold out and added extra bans just because people got better at exercising their rights, like many other countries. Too bad the EU probably has something to say about that.
    Mikko Rauhala