In the beginning of 2011, a Portuguese local anti-piracy organisation named Audiovisual, Cultural and Entertainment Trade Association (in short, ACAPOR) lodged a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office against around 2000 web users who used peer-to-peer (P2P) websites to share movies and stuff which was absolutely illegal. But after reviewing the complaint, now after a little more than one year, Portuguese prosecutors have ruled last Wednesday (September 26) that file sharing is legal in the Iberian country if the copyrighted material is downloaded for personal use.
After the complaint was submitted by ACAPOR in 2011, the Department of Investigation and Penal Action (DIAP) looked into the matter. Prosecutors mentioned that the right to culture, education and freedom of expression on the Internet should not be restricted in cases where copyright infringements are clearly non-commercial. It also insulted ACAPOR mentioning that only the IP addresses were not sufficient evidence to identify a person accused of file sharing.
According to the prosecutors, “From a legal point of view, while taking into account that users are both uploaders and downloaders in these file-sharing networks, we see this conduct as lawful, even when it’s considered that the users continue to share once the download is finished.”
Finally, the prosecutor said that even if file sharing for personal use was considered to be illegal, artists should explicitly state they are not authorising their material to be copied for personal use.
After the ruling, ACAPOR has expressed its disappointment and claimed that dropping the case was the easiest decision for DIAP to make. It also accused prosecutors of adapting the law for their own interests.