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Supersite’s infamous owners accused of accessory to copyright infringement

Piracy supersite ThePirateBay.org 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.”



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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.


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