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The front image for The Pirate Bay was redecorated in celebration of the site's victory, which its administrators feel is inevitable.  (Source: The Pirate Bay)
Site’s admins denounce accusations as idiotic

Making good on a promise tendered last week, the country of Sweden pressed charges against four administrators, accusing them of conspiring to break Swedish copyright law.

According to prosecutor Håkan Roswall, the BitTorrent supersite commercially exploits copyright-protected works through ad revenues, of which it nets over $3 million annually.  The four men charged include The Pirate Bay co-founder Peter “Brokep” Sunde, administrators Gottfrid Svartholm and Fredrik Neij, and businessman/entrepreneur Carl Lundström, whose company once provided hosting for the site. Authorities specifically named 33 different copyrighted works, comprising of 20 songs, nine films and four computer games for which The Pirate Bay made torrents available illegally.

Roswall says that the four should be made to pay at least $188,000, which the indictment says is the minimum profit that The Pirate Bay made from its activities. If convicted, they could face up to two years in prison.

IFPI chairman John Kennedy says The Pirate Bay is primarily interested in “making money, not music” and that the site turned Sweden, which is “normally the most law abiding of EU countries,” into a copyright charlatan, with “intellectual property laws on par with Russia.”

Despite the accusations, The Pirate Bay seems unfazed. “In case we lose the pending trial (yeah right) there will still not be any changes to the site. The Pirate Bay will keep operating just as always. We've been here for years and we will be here many more,” writes an unnamed administrator on the site’s official blog, before pointing out that Swedish police could have “saved a hell of a lot of trees” by posting the 4,620 pages of legal documents against Sunde and friends – available for approximately $1000 USD – in a PDF torrent on the site.

The Pirate Bay says that it hosts close to a million torrents, which point to files on users’ computers that are distributed across the BitTorrent network. The site maintains that it does not host nor trade in infringing material, an accusation that Sunde dismissed as “idiotic” in an interview with Reuters conducted earlier last January.

BBC’s blogger Darren Waters believes The Pirate Bay – as opposed to other torrent supersites – was targeted because of its openly defiant attitude and historic resilience to legal threats; the site keeps an online graveyard of sorts littered with takedown notices and administrators’ sarcastic responses. The Pirate Bay’s adversaries include almost every major copyright organization on the planet, as well as numerous artists, software developers, and filmmakers.

Thus far – with one exception, due to a police raid in May 2006 that knocked the site offline for a few days – The Pirate Bay continues to operate unrestricted.

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RE: Humane Laws
By JustTom on 2/2/2008 4:07:00 PM , Rating: 2
Their period lasted some 600 years (over twice as long as our Industrial revolution has), and in that vast period, their all their developments in math, astronomy, philosophy, etc, didn't translate into one ounce of technological progress.

Now, that is just not correct. There certainly was technological innovation in ancient Greek civilization. The pace of such innovation certainly was slower than today but it did exist. The Archimedes screw pump is a good example of such technological innovation.

RE: Humane Laws
By masher2 on 2/2/2008 7:00:02 PM , Rating: 2
> "The Archimedes screw pump is a good example of such technological innovation"

We're not even sure Archimedes invented the screw pump; there's evidence it was used in Assyria much earlier. The screw took hundreds of years to proliferate, and it's therefore an excellent example of why patents are neccesary. Good ideas tended to be kept secret; there was no profit motive in publicising an advance....quite the opposite in fact.

Take the innovation of Greek fire as another example. It was kept secret, in fact, that we're not even sure how the formula for it was today. The same is true for most of the Greek advances. We know of most today only after they were uncovered during the Renaissance (or later). They had very little real effect on technological progress before then.

Fast forward to the Middle Ages, and the critical (and highly secretive) cloth industry. Techniques for weaving, spinning, carding, dying-- all were closely guarded trade secrets. Even a master only knew a few of the many steps required to turn wool into cloth, and he told no one, other than his few apprentices, who themselves were disinclined to share. That kept the industry a very small, enormously profitable monopoly, and any new advance could take a century or more before it was widely known to all.

This allowed places like Flanders to monopolize the industry for centuries, and forced other nations to engage in industrial espionage to try to break the strangehold.

Contrast that to the patent system. Any advance is immediately made public and fully disseminated. When the brief protection period expires, the innovation is available to any and all. The medieval system of trade secrets and spy networks is short-circuited, and progress is far faster.

RE: Humane Laws
By JustTom on 2/2/2008 10:49:46 PM , Rating: 1
Their period lasted some 600 years (over twice as long as our Industrial revolution has), and in that vast period, their all their developments in math, astronomy, philosophy, etc, didn't translate into one ounce of technological progress.

That was your quote, and it certainly is demonstrably false. You did not say that the Greek era was deficient in technological progress you said it did not exist. I was not arguing the merits of the patent system, I was making a simple declarative statement that the quoted statement is incorrect. Is it really your belief that there was not a single technological innovation during that period? Or was your statement mere hyperbole?

RE: Humane Laws
By masher2 on 2/3/2008 12:55:20 PM , Rating: 3
> " You did not say that the Greek era was deficient in technological progress you said it did not exist"

Scientific advances were made, but that doesn't equate to technological progress. Technology is the application of science to practical uses.

The life of an ancient Greek from 150 BC was essentially identical to one from 750 BC. Farming, weaving, carving, quarrying, mining, smelting -- all were unchanged. Other than some advances in architecture, technology was essentially static.

Today, our lives change much more in five years than theirs did in five centuries. Was the rate of progress exactly equal to zero? No of course not...but it certainly was infinitesimal.

You meantion the Archimedes screw. A major advance indeed...and yet 300 years after its invention, it was still a curiosity, unknown outside a few royal palaces. It wasn't until the 3rd century BC that it began to see widespread use in Greek agriculture...and it took more than 100 years after that to spread throughout the Mediterranean.

RE: Humane Laws
By JustTom on 2/4/2008 10:14:01 AM , Rating: 2
Even Finley, who is very much known for his view of lack of technological progress made by the Greeks, would not claim that there was NO such progress. And there is copious recent research indicating Finley at the very least severely underestimated both the scope of such innovation but its use.
I never argued that prior systems disseminated technology quicker, or encouraged such innovation; my sole statement was on your incorrect. Arguing that modern patents systems are superior to previous systems not only avoids my problem with your post it is very much preaching to the choir.

RE: Humane Laws
By masher2 on 2/4/2008 11:30:56 AM , Rating: 2
Fair enough. Please consider my statement amended from "none" to "infinitesimal" progress during the period.

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

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