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Serious copyright-infringement case preceded by parties and a European bus tour

In a criminal trial so popular that reporters had to purchase seats from ticket scalpers, administrators for the infamous file-sharing portal The Pirate Bay faced their first day in a Swedish courtroom on charges of assisting others in copyright infringement.

Defendants Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundström face accusations from a wide variety of entertainment labels and copyright organizations, including Sony BMG, Warner Music Sweden, Blizzard Entertainment, Activision, and MGM Pictures – who collectively are demanding at least 120 million kronor (US $14.3 million) in compensation for The Pirate Bay’s role in allowing users to copy music, movies, TV shows, and videogames.

Prosecution is focusing specifically on a handful of titles, including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, season 1 of the TV show Prison Break, and the computer games Call of Duty 2, Diablo 2, and F.E.A.R.

Day one of the trial saw the prosecutor painting The Pirate Bay as an ideological project, and its administrators as benevolent computer nerds whose project eventually grew to something larger than they could support – hence The Pirate Bay’s decision to display advertisements and start collecting revenue. By the time Swedish police raided the site in May 2006, prosecution claims The Pirate Bay grossed a total of US $150,000.

In accordance with The Pirate Bay’s stance that it is innocent of copyright infringement because it doesn’t actually store any of the content, all defendants plead not guilty to any criminal wrongdoing and only two of them – Neij and Svartholm – admitted any responsibility in administering parts of the site. Lundström, in particular – who faced unrelated controversies in the past – said his hosting company, Rix Telecom, only sold The Pirate Bay bandwidth and server space “at market prices.”

Stockholm University tort law professor Marten Schultz, speaking with Wired, said the figures presented against The Pirate Bay are “grossly inflated,” and the defendants claimed that what revenue they did make only partially covered The Pirate Bay’s expenses.

The Pirate Bay leadership is attempting to attract as much attention as possible in support of its case, throwing parties, press conferences – which blacklisted major media outlets because of their prior behavior – and touring the European countryside in a converted Swedish public transport bus. The focal point of its efforts is a specially-purposed website called Spectrial, which serves as an internet rallying point, events calendar, and feed portal for The Pirate Bay’s twitter and micro-blogging efforts.

Interestingly, the trial features a number of live audio feed broadcast in The Pirate Bay’s native tongue, as well as additional tech feeds in English, Swedish, and a number of other languages.

Outside the courtroom, onlookers waved black pirate flags and held street protests in support.

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RE: Old world distribution model meets new reality
By freeagle on 2/17/2009 9:08:54 AM , Rating: 3
Maybe not just torrents, but internet distribution as a whole. People are lazy (me included) to go to a shop and buy a game/movie/music, it's much more easier to do just a few clicks on a PC and wait for the download to finish.

If the producers focused on internet distribution, they can cut the costs of creating a medium to store the content on and then distributing it, which would lead to a lower prices and most probably a few more customers. Which would probably get them those 14M $ they want from the pirate bay.

RE: Old world distribution model meets new reality
By Staples on 2/17/2009 11:04:06 AM , Rating: 2
Ever heard of iTunes or Steam?
They have been around a while.

By freeagle on 2/17/2009 11:19:03 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I have, but producers are not focusing on them...

If the producers focused on internet distribution

By Hyperion1400 on 2/17/2009 1:20:16 PM , Rating: 3
Why would I want to buy over priced CD's that I can only use on one device, only download once, and are only 1/8th the sound quality of their physical counter parts.

As far as I know, there are no services that offer full quality, DRM free, lifetime usage music. A CD is STILL a better buy.

By omnicronx on 2/17/2009 2:58:21 PM , Rating: 2
I can surely tell the difference between an mp3 and lossless audio content when using a digital connection from my PC to my receiver.. but..the DAC's on the best of MP3 players pretty much limit the value of lossless audio. So yes, perhaps the sound quality is more than noticeable when using the right equipment, but you make it out as though lossless audio with a zune/ipod with analogue output is going to sound much better than a 256k vbr MP3, when in reality the difference is so small that the extra file size is rarely worth it.

These companies are not stupid, if there was a market for lossless audio in which they could probably charge more money for them, they would probably do so.

I am not saying there is not a place for lossless audio, I have quite the collection, but I always convert to another format unless I specifically plan on attaching my player to an external stereo or receiver.

Of course this all assumes the source material you are talking about is normal CD's @ 16bit 44.1khz . I have SACD rips in which the source was 96khz/24bit that I have put on my zune in WM lossless at 48khz and it sounds a lot better, but at the same time it also supports mp3s at 48khz too.

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