Finland: Piracy bust leads to fines & jail terms for Hub site operators

A Finnish court has found the creators of the “hub” file sharing network guilty of copyright violations, with a fine of more than 820,000 Euros handed down to the defendants. The illegal file sharing server hosted movies, music and ripped video games all available for free to users willing to share large amounts of data.

The couple responsible for running the hub claimed it was used for chat discussions, but the judge clearly saw through their failed defense. A 21-year-old man was given a three-month suspended jail sentence, while his 35-year-old female partner in crime received a four-month suspended sentence.

Finland: Piracy bust leads to fines & jail terms for Hub site operators

The music industry first began an investigation into the hub in 2007, after discovering the file-sharing service provided a whopping 50 Tera Bytes of content for downloaders.

Similar to how BitTorrent trackers work, the hub gave users the chance to download and share copyrighted files, but with a catch. Users had to include their own large collection of files before being granted access.

The couple allegedly ripped copyrighted content and later posted it online, with 1,600 users reportedly sharing large amounts of data with little fear of possible legal ramifications.

This bust shows the continued joint effort between copyright groups and governments to find better methods to fight online piracy using new tools available. BitTorrent trackers, FTP operators, and other popular file sharing destinations are under constant watch from authorities — and it will only continue with additional government support.

Copyright groups and courts in the United States and in Europe are now looking to shut down organized file sharing sources — leaving behind controversial efforts to sue individual file sharers. This yields significantly less bad press for the copyright groups, while taking out major resources for online file sharers.

Despite being extremely jaded after years of watching copyright groups sneak, lie and steal their way into power, it’s refreshing to see less financial-driven effort against individual file sharers. However, the effort to work with lawmakers and force ISPs into three-strikes agreements provides a more serious threat to PC users long-term.

Megaupload recently overtook BitTorrent to become the file sharing leader, which shows how file sharers constantly migrate to new methods.  To match this shift, file sharing groups and lawmakers also are altering their strategies to fight piracy depending on new technologies and services available.