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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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Then all search engines are guilty...
By Tegrat on 2/17/2009 9:44:41 AM , Rating: 5
Why not include Google, MSN, Yahoo etc...? I can find a serial key and wares through standard search engines... If Pirate Bay is guilty... then so are the big shots!

By omnicronx on 2/17/2009 9:59:35 AM , Rating: 3
And they get a heck of a lot more add revenue in doing so ;)

RE: Then all search engines are guilty...
By reader1 on 2/17/2009 2:53:49 PM , Rating: 1
That's true. I predict search engines will start controlling their content by requiring websites to comply with rules if they want to be listed in search results. Sites transferring illegal goods will not qualify.

RE: Then all search engines are guilty...
By omnicronx on 2/17/2009 4:01:27 PM , Rating: 2
We get it.. the world is becoming a closed system.. the apocalypse is here.. Apple will dominate the world.. yada yada yada..

By TSS on 2/17/2009 9:11:16 PM , Rating: 2

you can be damned sure the apocalypse is comming since even apple isn't immune to this crisis.

RE: Then all search engines are guilty...
By phxfreddy on 2/17/2009 8:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
eh...I doubt it. There will be other websites that function only to refer you to the main one.

By reader1 on 2/18/2009 8:59:32 AM , Rating: 1
Any site associated with piracy will be disqualified as well.

I don't see how an uncontrolled internet can survive. Technically, it's possible, but commercially, it's a dead end.

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