A Danish citizen who wants to force changes to the country’s copyright laws is trying to turn himself in to the police for committing over 100 acts of copyright violation after a national anti-piracy group showed a distinct lack of interest in the matter.
Lots of people talk the talk but not many of them are willing to walk the walk like Henrik Anderson, a man who believes so strongly that Denmark’s copyright laws are a big fat mess that he’s willing to put himself in harm’s way to to do something about it. He decided that the only way to bring about change was to drag the matter before the courts and demonstrate how ludicrous the situation has become and the only fair way to do it, he reasoned, was to do it himself.
Like many countries, Denmark allows people to legally make single copies of copyrighted materials for non-commercial uses; but, also like many countries, it forbids the circumvention of any DRM that may happen to be in place on those same copyrighted materials. The laws are obviously contradictory; the legal right to make backups of movies or videogames is trumped by the legal right of content producers to keep you from doing so. So around the end of October, Anderson cracked the DRM on over 100 DVDs he had legally purchased, made copies and then squealed on himself to the Danish anti-piracy group Antipiratgruppen.
This is where it gets interesting. Anderson requested that the organization let him know whether or not he’d be prosecuted by December 1 but as of yesterday, he hadn’t heard a thing. The group did, however, issue a statement to the Danish press calling it a “political matter” and saying it had reported the incident to the Association of Danish Video Distributors; the chairman of that group, in turn, indicated that it would hold a meeting to decide whether to report the issue to the police.
Anderson said it’s possible that Antipiratgruppen doesn’t consider his actions illegal under Danish law, a not-unreasonable position except for the fact that he’s already received a letter from the Ministry of Culture telling him it is against the law. “Who should I follow?” he asked. “Those that determine the laws in this country? Or those who are lawyers for the companies that I’m committing a crime against?”
Since nobody in the anti-piracy community seems interested in pursuing the matter, Anderson has decided to go the extra mile and rat himself out to the fuzz in the hope that if he can drag himself to trial, he can demonstrate the gross inadequacies of the law and catalyze a change. “I decided to try to see if I can report myself directly to the police, for the case must be resolved,” he said. But first, he has to figure out how to get himself arrested.