Rights holders often take extreme measures to combat piracy, but that a Government institution creates a ‘pirate’ honeypot is quite exceptional. In Portugal, a collaboration between a Ministry of Culture affiliated organization and the local music industry has resulted in a protocol that calls for such a honeypot, in order to shame, scare and threaten those who download music without authorization.
Among file-sharers the term ‘honeypots’ is used to describe sites and services that are specifically set up to lure people into downloading copyrighted files. The label is often applied to suspicious looking sites, but proof of the existence of live honeypots is never provided.
People have alleged that some of the pay-up-or-else lawsuits against BitTorrent users came in part from torrents that were uploaded or seeded by the copyright holders themselves, but this hasn’t been proven either.
This does not mean that honeypots are a myth. Indeed, in Portugal their existence is now confirmed, as a previously held back agreement between the Portuguese Phonographic Association (AFP) and the General Inspection of Cultural Activities (IGAC) reveals. This agreement is of special interest, since the latter organization falls under the Ministry of Culture. Continue reading…