Information of illegal distribution of works.
Illegal distribution of works (movies, musical works, computer games) in peer-to-peer networks, including, among others, torrents and programs such as, among others, eMule, Kaaza, uTorrent, BitTorrent is a crime that is punishable by up to 2 years of imprisonment. In case of a court sentence the crime is placed in the National Criminal Registry for a period of 5 years from the execution of penalty, e.g. payment of penal fee or redressing the loss.
It should be remembered that criminal courts, when deliberating on the obligation to redress the loss base their decision on the amount of the licensing fee. The said fee can reach, in case of movie works, from 15 000.00 PLN to 200 000.00 PLN.
During the preliminary proceeding conducted by the prosecutor’s office, the law enforcement agency is entitled to secure the electronic equipment that may have been used for illegal distribution of a work. In such a case, if the prosecutor elects to issue a bill of indictment against the person who may have perpetrated the crime, the court in its final sentence may order confiscation of such IT equipment.
However, criminal proceedings foresee a number of possibilities that may result in, even, discontinuance of proceedings. One of such possibilities is an agreement with the offender and redress.
However, it should be remembered that the crime of illegal distribution of works is prosecuted at request of the aggrieved party. In case the perpetrator redresses the loss, the aggrieved party decides to revoke the prosecution. In such a cases, as indicated by prosecutor Iwona Ilcewicz-Kołodziejczyk from the District Prosecutor’s Office in Pruszków “the crime of illegal distribution of third party work is prosecuted at request of the aggrieved party. If the representative of the aggrieved party discontinues motion for prosecution of a given person, this closes our possibility to continue with the prosecution against that person”. It should be remembered that according to Art. 17 § 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure the criminal proceedings is not initiated and an initiated one is discontinued if there is no complaint from an authorized prosecutor.
Owner of copyright may even request redress of damages in civil lawsuit. In such a case the claimed amount may be three times the licensing fee for distribution of the work.
Here however, the owner of the internet provider is obliged to secure its internet link in such a way as to make impossible to use his/hers network to perpetrate the crime. Otherwise the court may decide that the internet provider failed to exercise due diligence and therefore will be liable to redress the loss suffered by the owner of the copyright.