Print 29 comment(s) - last by Believer.. on Jan 31 at 7:30 AM

Supersite’s infamous owners accused of accessory to copyright infringement

Piracy supersite has a reputation for staying a step ahead of the law, proudly defying media titans and shouting a litany of legal triumphs to anyone who’d listen. This week, however, it appears that The Pirate Bay’s past may just catch up with it, as Swedish prosecutors announced late last week that they will file formal charges against The Pirate Bay’s administrators on January 31.

Sweden’s announcement follows a similar statement of intent announced late last year, which in turn followed up a “vow” by Swedish prosecutors to charge the site with piracy.

Rather than attack The Pirate Bay itself, Swedish authorities accused the site’s administrators of accessory and conspiracy to break copyright law – charges that carry fines at best and a couple years in prison at worst. While an exact list of the individuals to be charged was not released, it is expected that such a list contains The Pirate Bay’s public faces – Peter “brokep” Sunde, Gottfrid “anakata” Svartholm, and Fredrik “TiAMO” Neij, as well as Swedish neo-fascist Carl Lundström, who hosted the site via his company, Rix Telecom.

Swedish prosecutor Håkan Roswall seems confident that The Pirate Bay’s organizers can be brought to justice, calling the case a “classic example of accessory – to act as intermediary between people who commit crimes, whether it’s in the physical or the virtual world.”

“It's not merely a search engine. It's an active part of an action that aims at, and also leads to, making copyright protected material available,” said Roswall.

Sunde seems to think otherwise, noting that The Pirate Bay does doesn’t host any infringing data and that he and his colleagues can’t be held responsible for the limited data that the site does provide. In an interview with Reuters, Sunde called the accusations “idiotic,” and claimed that Swedish authorities had “no legal ground” for the accessory charges to be pressed against him.

The Pirate Bay was knocked offline briefly in 2006 when Swedish police raided the site’s datacenter, then located in Stockholm. While it was expected that the raid – which resulted in the confiscation of at least 180 servers – would yield voluminous amounts of evidence, a May 2007 leak revealed that Swedish police had a hard time finding anything useful. At the time, Sunde claimed an informant told him that Swedish police had exactly nothing to pursue charges with, and yet continued to press on anyway. Now, it appears that the raid wasn’t a complete wash, as the accessory charges are based in part from evidence gleamed from the 2006 raid.

Still, The Pirate Bay is confident that it will withstand whatever legal threats, charges, and convictions are thrown its way: the site’s infrastructure is spread across the globe, and done in such a way that not even Sunde, Svartholm, and Neij know where everything is. “Because the infrastructure is scattered among several places around the world,” said Roswall, “no separate country will be able to stop the site.”

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Did the popo's have...
By excrucio on 1/29/2008 12:30:40 PM , Rating: 2
Did the police had any reason to even do the raid in 2006?
They had reason to believe TPB had what in there that would be used against them? Files?...i dont get it.

anyway i think TPB is safe, but its a thin ice, and a human error could break that ice.

RE: Did the popo's have...
By DarkElfa on 1/29/2008 1:32:02 PM , Rating: 4
TBH, I'm on the side of the Pirates, but the administrators at TPB are so damned arrogant I'd laugh my ass off if they went to jail over this. ;)

RE: Did the popo's have...
By MrDiSante on 1/29/2008 8:41:12 PM , Rating: 2
Nah I'm with TPB on this one - if they set up a donation box for a legal defense team, I'll make sure to donate a few bucks. Someone needs to stand up to RIAA/MPAA and I'm glad TPB's doing it.

RE: Did the popo's have...
By afkrotch on 1/30/2008 3:17:03 AM , Rating: 3
I'm sure TPB makes enough money that it doesn't need a donation box.

RE: Did the popo's have...
By Frallan on 1/30/2008 10:18:37 AM , Rating: 2
Acctually TBP just came clear regarding the income from the site. The ads bring in about 6.000 SEK(620€)/month. Reason why they don't get more is that the normal advetisers are afraid of getting connected with TPB. On the other hand this is a high profile case in Sweden so i guess they will have someone of the better lawyers on their side "pro bono". If they don't I will also give to any fund they start. Not bc Im entirely on their side but bc Im entirely NOT on the other side.

Download time
By Kyanzes on 1/29/2008 10:24:32 AM , Rating: 5
They wanted to file the charges earlier but many of them had long download time torrents in the cue so they had to wait.

RE: Download time
By dflynchimp on 1/29/2008 12:56:56 PM , Rating: 1

goin nowhere fast in Sweden
By wetwareinterface on 1/29/2008 8:29:46 PM , Rating: 2
This is another weak attempt by the prosecuters in Sweden to put up a show of force. The sad fact is torrent hosting at this time in Sweden is not illegal. The Swedish law enforcement people tried this in the raid in 2006 and ended up having to eat crow.

The law in Sweden right now is that posting information on where to get copyright infringing material in itself is not illegal nor infringing copyright. As long as that is still in place the pirate bay will be safe. If that law changes and they still operate then they have to worry. As far as the whole is a torrent file a link to material or material itself was already tried, and the courts sided with the thought that it is a "link to" not an actual infringment in itself in Sweden.

So unless Sweden doesn't have a double jeopardy law the previous ruling will be upheld and this will go nowhere.

RE: goin nowhere fast in Sweden
By Frallan on 1/30/2008 10:22:31 AM , Rating: 2
Well acctually they are beeing charged with aiding and abetting illegal downloading. Thing is that in Sweden aiding and abetting isn't concidered possible if the crime doesnt give minimum 3 years in jail. So since all cases in Seden have given monetary punishment only it is likely to go nowhere - but given the huge amount of hybris these guys have built up it might swing against em as well.

By marvdmartian on 1/29/2008 12:10:20 PM , Rating: 3
Conspiracy to say "Nannie-nannie-boo-boo!!" to the people that want them shut down. They ought to get that one to stick!!

By jpeyton on 1/30/2008 4:58:40 AM , Rating: 2
The site got a huge bump in active users when the Swedish police took down their servers the first time.

Filing charges will put the The Pirate Bay back in the limelight...this time, without any danger of going offline.

They recently exceeded 10 million peers; filing charges will probably drive this number up by a couple million. Advertising revenues will undoubtedly increase, padding the already large Pirate Bay defense fund.

tpb is fine
By opterondo on 1/31/2008 1:47:26 AM , Rating: 2
tpb is fine, this is just your usual government finger bang job. 98% of what the government says is overstated crap; they will charge you .. harass you and in the end the judge will throw it out completely. all tpb does is index hashes and transmit hashs, the related content is irrelevent. google does this everyday. it's all about control, even if nothing is wrong, it's all about control - full disclosure that is.

By Believer on 1/31/2008 7:30:43 AM , Rating: 2
It seems that this is what the police have found from the 180 servers they raided (where some didn't even belong to TPB), since these are the copyright infringements the 4 individuals have now been accused of;

- 21 Music albums (e.g. Backyard Babies "Stockholm syndrome", Sofie Zelmanis "A Lifetime in a Moment", Kents "Hjärta & Smärta EP" and The Beatles "Let it Be")

- 9 Movies (e.g. "Pusher 3", first season of "The Prison Break" and "Walk the Line".)

- 4 Games (e.g. World of Warcraft - Invasion, Call of Duty 2 and F.E.A.R.)

The best part I think is how Håkan Roswall filed the charges, using the Swedish term "värdeförverkande", where the fines (an alleged sum of 1.2 million sKr) are to be payed directly to the Swedish society instead of to the copyright holders. :D

So whatever happens, the IFPI, Warner Bros, MGM Pictures Inc and Colombia Pictures Industries who helped with the sue, seems to get nothing in the forms of royalty.

Uh oh
By qwertyz on 1/29/08, Rating: -1
RE: Uh oh
By Master Kenobi on 1/29/2008 10:34:34 AM , Rating: 5
Well, you need to look at it like this.

- Copyright enforcement varies from country to country. If you put your data centers in countries that don't particularly like the U.S. or ones that the RIAA/MPAA can't muscle then your relatively safe. To prevent them trying to block ranges you distribute your network to several countries. This forces the RIAA/MPAA to petition multiple governments which likely won't cooperate. It also prevents in many cases evidence from one country being used to support a claim in another as the methods may or may not be admissable there.

- Countries don't cooperate unless they have good reason. Copyright Infringement isn't high on their list of "to-do".

By all rights, TPB seems to have their ducks in a row. They are skating a fine line, but so far it looks like they are safe. I'm sure whatever information they thought they found on the confiscated servers can easily be shot down in the court room.

RE: Uh oh
By masher2 on 1/29/08, Rating: -1
RE: Uh oh
By eyebeeemmpawn on 1/29/2008 11:43:58 AM , Rating: 3
What? Your quote doesn't say anything. It says the prosecutor "seems confident". I bet the police seemed pretty confident when they were about to raid the data center.

RE: Uh oh
By Master Kenobi on 1/29/2008 12:41:36 PM , Rating: 4
Well to be fair, accessory and conspiracy are pretty grey and I doubt any judge would be willing to stick his neck out on those. Unless the Swedish authorities have something concrete this is going nowhere and will just be a show to apease the RIAA.

RE: Uh oh
By JustTom on 1/29/2008 1:02:07 PM , Rating: 1
On what do you base your conclusion, there is no concrete data either way at this time. Just blathering propoganda from both sides. And it seems that this is much more than appeasement of RIAA. The Swedish police would going to such lengths to appease an American organization is extremely problematic in my mind.

RE: Uh oh
By Master Kenobi on 1/29/2008 1:33:22 PM , Rating: 2
It's not the swedish police, its the swedish government trying to make nice on WTO pressure. I see this as highly possible but I agree that them going to such lengths is problematic. It doesn't mean they wouldn't do it either.

RE: Uh oh
By JustTom on 1/29/2008 6:23:05 PM , Rating: 2
I don't disagree that is a possibility, but speculation to motive is just that. Personally, I think it is more likely that TPB pissed off the wrong people in the Swedish government and brought a whole lot of trouble down on themselves. Don't understimate the power of bureaucrat with axes to grind.

RE: Uh oh
By masher2 on 1/30/2008 2:18:53 AM , Rating: 2
> "It's not the swedish police, its the swedish government "

You do realize the police force is a branch of government, right?

RE: Uh oh
By Master Kenobi on 1/30/2008 8:44:40 AM , Rating: 2
Yes. However the police themselves are nothing more than law enforcement pawns. The guys pulling the strings on this are considerably higher up.

RE: Uh oh
By PWNettle on 1/29/2008 3:51:22 PM , Rating: 2
Why wouldn't any judge put the smack down on people who flaunt the law and promote illegal behaviors if given any chance to do so? Gray area means the judge can lean whichever way s/he chooses, so why would any judge side with obvious criminals?

RE: Uh oh
By Master Kenobi on 1/29/2008 4:11:35 PM , Rating: 2
It's not obvious in the court of law. This is why they are still allowed to operate. Don't think with U.S. style of laws, this is Sweden were talking about and it's a whole different ballgame.

RE: Uh oh
By Spuke on 1/29/2008 1:08:50 PM , Rating: 2
If that's having your ducks in a row, I'd hate to see them out of line.
Being charged with a crime and being found guilty of that crime are two different things. See the O.J. trial for a reference.

RE: Uh oh
By mindless1 on 1/29/2008 1:47:47 PM , Rating: 2
Ducks in a row is fair, they are still online aren't they?!

RE: Uh oh
By SPOOOK on 1/29/2008 11:07:46 PM , Rating: 1
i played a duck game one time and every time i shot down one duck 3 more poped up the usa dont rule the world as they are trying these countrys shuld tell the us to drop dead

RE: Uh oh
By Frallan on 1/30/2008 10:30:15 AM , Rating: 2
Forced to side with Kenobi on this one.. Especially since "accessory and conspiracy" isnt legally possible to a crime that has a punishment of less then 3 yrs in jail in Sweden. Given that all IP infringmencases in Sweden has ended with a fine (and these were uploaders with files confiscated on harddisks) Id say that the Duck are in a row and Quacking along happily whereever such ducks are going.

American perspectives on Swedish law is bound to go somewhere in a handbasket same as what happens when other european phenomenon are discussed from a amerivan perspective.

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton
Related Articles

Most Popular ArticlesTop 5 Smart Watches
July 21, 2016, 11:48 PM
Free Windows 10 offer ends July 29th, 2016: 10 Reasons to Upgrade Immediately
July 22, 2016, 9:19 PM

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki