- The Greek Ministry of Culture believes that imposing fines for casual pirates will stop piracy.
- The practice is already quite common in Europe, but it’s nowhere near perfect or effective.
- Only the non-tech-savvy get caught and pay, while the rest are using a VPN connection to hide.
The Greek government is ready to make the next move in their fight against piracy, and they are planning to introduce fines as their next step. As representatives of the Ministry of Culture told the press, the special legislative committee that was formulated back in September has reached to the conclusion that individual pirates who are using peer-to-peer networks should be identified and fined. As the ministry spokesman pointed out, the effort to protect intellectual rights in Greece spans over the last six decades, but with the rapid growth of the internet and technology, the piracy phenomenon has grown out of proportion.
Thus, they aim to introduce a new law through a ministerial decision that will decisively deal with the problem. The movie producers were once again placed in the spotlight by the ministry, as they were used as an example for the losses that are induced because of pirate activities. It is estimated that the producers are losing 24 million Euros due to piracy in Greece, and thus the state is losing 15 million Euros that would otherwise be its taxation cut. Of course, piracy was already illegal in Greece, but the law authorities generally overlooked the offense and focused on bringing down pirate website operators.
As this is not enough to tackle piracy, the Greek government is now taking things to the next level. The way to do this is either via fines or by blocking torrent websites altogether. The latter is a problematic choice for many reasons, and while Italy, Portugal, and Latvia are following this approach it is unlikely that Greece will do the same. The fines are better when trying to make money while at the same time impose copyright protection laws, so this is what the ministry is planning to do.
Other European countries that send fines over to casual pirates are France, Finland, the UK, and Germany. Especially in the latter, the fines are quite harsh, ranging from 500 to up to 1500 Euros. The ISPs in Germany's hand over the IP addresses of their customers without needing a court order, so people torrent files while hiding behind a VPN connection or they get caught. That said, whatever the level of determination of the Greek government, it won’t be a match for a stubborn tech-savvy pirate. Most will either use safe websites to stream content, or a VPN connection that will help them slip under the radar when torrenting.