The miiVi.com incident in the Philippine legal context
For those who are not aware (as was I, until today):
Media Defender, a notorious anti piracy gang working for the MPAA, RIAA and several independent media production companies, just launched their very own video upload service called “miivi.com”. The sole purpose of the site is to trap people into uploading copyrighted material, and bust them for doing so.
Media Defender is known for their shady tactics. Besides launching video upload services, they also trap people into downloading fake torrents so they can collect IP addresses, and send copyright infringement letters to ISPs.
Fortunately, most of the IPs of these fake BitTorrent trackers are already blocked by blocklist software like PeerGuardian. However, they still manage to collect the IP addresses of thousands of users who do fall for this trap.
And Now they try to do the same with their “fake” video download service. They have registered a new domain and launched a video upload / download site with a web 2.0-ish name: miivi.com. Miivi claims to offer hight speed downloads of blockbuster movies like “300” (don’t download), hereby luring people into downloading copyrighted content. (from this link)
A layman may cry “entrapment.” But that’s not technically correct. He should cry “instigation,” instead.
In Philippine jurisprudence:
In entrapment, ways and means are resorted to for the purpose of trapping and capturing lawbreakers in the execution of their criminal plan. In instigation on the other hand, instigators practically induce the would-be defendant into the commission of the offense and become co-principals themselves.
While entrapment is sanctioned by law as a legitimate method of apprehending criminal elements engaged in the sale and distribution of illegal drugs, for example, instigation is not. “Entrapment” is the colloquial term, which actually means instigation.
In the MiiVi incident, an uploader may still be liable, unless certain inducements were made for the illegal uploads. What is important to consider in this case is where the criminal intent was conceived. If this intent came from the website, that’s instigation, not entrapment and the uploader goes free in this jurisdiction.
Unfortunately, the site is now down and I don’t know how Media Defender exactly lures these unsuspecting uploaders.
Likewise, the installation of spyware in the course of the upload runs smack into violation of privacy issues and may render the evidence Media Defender obtains through it inadmissible here. The uploader then goes free and the entertainment industry suffers another public relations nightmare.
So I agree with the writer of the the news item above. “No matter how wrong ‘piracy’ might seem to some people, this is NOT the way to fight it.”