Making good on a promise tendered
last week, the country of Sweden pressed charges against four ThePirateBay.org
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
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 dot.life blogger Darren
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.