BONAR, Spain – Does the battle to stop Internet piracy mean it’s OK to badger and bully individuals with deception?
On Wednesday, the home of 26-year-old computer science student Juan Jose Carrasco Colonel in Bonar, Spain, was invaded by representatives of the Spanish music rights/anti-piracy group SGAE.
Until recently, Colonel ran two small file-sharing sites, Elitemula and Etmusica, which were closed down after a court order was served to the hosting company.
Recently, Spanish courts determined that running peer-to-peer link sites is not illegal. As a result, SGAE vowed civil actions.
According to TorrentFreak, five SGAE representatives conducted a search of Colonel’s home without a valid warrant, though they waved an order and claimed they had a right to search the entire property to inspect computers and hard drives.
"They entered my house and I showed them my personal laptop, but they insisted on seeing them all, including my brother’s,' Colonel told TorrentFreak.
Colonel said the SGAE people entered every room in the house and even opened up some boxes in his bedroom containing personal family belongings, nothing computer-related.
One man who claimed to be a “computer expert” searched through Colonel's computers and then, harassed him to get the password to view his brother's laptop,"
After two hours in the home, Colonel was able to reach attorney David Bravo, who asked to hear the contents of the supposed court order, then determined it did not authorize any SGAW entry or examination of computers and equipment.
One of the SGAE individuals was a lawyer of the anti-piracy group and countered they had a right to seize all the equipment. But he then recanted as Bravo on the phone stepped in again and the SGAE reps left the house, taking the laptop.
Bravo will be representing Colonel in court and it's possible they make seek to file a lawsuit against SGAE and the individuals who pushed their way into the home.
Bravo and attorney Javier de la Cueva recently defended P2P developer Pablo Soto.
The move by SGAE is not just a public relations disaster in Spain, but detrimental to rights-holder advocacy groups around the world. Such organizations must employ measured and restrained, yet focused tactics if they are to win the public to their side in the battle over illegal