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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: What difference does it make?
By an0dize on 2/17/2009 9:48:27 AM , Rating: 4
Right... They grossed $150,000. So sue them for 14 million? These big content suits are such a joke. I don't understand why judges continue to placate these companies.


RE: What difference does it make?
By omnicronx on 2/17/2009 9:58:53 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Right... They grossed $150,000. So sue them for 14 million? These
Yet... the number would be in the billions if this were in the USA. I bet they are glad they are in Sweden ;)


RE: What difference does it make?
By 67STANG on 2/17/2009 11:16:49 AM , Rating: 2
Hell, in the U.S. they would be sued for 150k if they were found with a few .mp3's on their grandma's computer.


RE: What difference does it make?
By Tsuwamono on 2/17/09, Rating: -1
RE: What difference does it make?
By UNHchabo on 2/17/2009 12:07:38 PM , Rating: 3
You really think if the Canadian authorities found out, they wouldn't prosecute you?


RE: What difference does it make?
By silver99 on 2/17/2009 12:36:12 PM , Rating: 1
No - in Canada it seems they really don't care. When I was working at Wal-Mart, I had two cops come in and ask me what the best brand of CD-Rs to use to burn music. They admitted they download music.

If the cops are downloading copyright material - why would they care if the public is doing it? It's not an issue in Canada like it is in the rest of the world.


By Mr Perfect on 2/17/2009 1:40:08 PM , Rating: 4
That doesn't mean much. They'll bust you for doing 5 over the speed limit, but then blow past you on the freeway with their lights off and cell phone on.


RE: What difference does it make?
By Chaser on 2/17/2009 2:28:08 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If the cops are downloading copyright material - why would they care if the public is doing it? It's not an issue in Canada like it is in the rest of the world.


Keep telling yourself that.


RE: What difference does it make?
By monomer on 2/17/2009 3:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, in Canada, we had a law that allowed for the copying of CD's and Videos. Basically, there was an additional tax on CDRs and blank tapes, with the proceeds distributed to various entities based on market share and radio play, I believe.

I know for a long time there was a gray area in the law as no one was really certain if downloaded MP3s were protected under this act, but I believe they passed some new copyright laws a few years ago to address this. Truth be told, I sopped following this a while ago, so I'm not really sure what the current status is.


RE: What difference does it make?
By omnicronx on 2/17/2009 3:40:12 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Actually, in Canada, we had a law that allowed for the copying of CD's and Videos. Basically, there was an additional tax on CDRs and blank tapes, with the proceeds distributed to various entities based on market share and radio play, I believe.
Haha this was a joke though, they were specifically labeled CD's i.e they were actually called MUSIC CD-R's, but you could still buy the normal CD-R's that cost half the price.
quote:
I know for a long time there was a gray area in the law as no one was really certain if downloaded MP3s were protected under this act, but I believe they passed some new copyright laws a few years ago to address this.
Its still and always has been a grey area, the problem is nobody could ever pursue it because ISPS were legally not allowed to disclose this kind information. As my other post states, right now there is no such thing as a warrant to get someones internet records, although Parliament is currently trying to pass such a law.


RE: What difference does it make?
By CZroe on 2/17/2009 8:34:56 PM , Rating: 2
NO. You are flat out WRONG. "Music CDs" carried an additional cost everywhere. In Canada, ALL blank media, from hard drives, cassettes, CD-Rs, and DVD-Rs, to SD cards and MP3 players carried a tax. Digital media was charged per MB, which quickly got out of hand with ever-increasing capacities.

I live in the US, but I know that the "iPod tax" was rescinded and Apple mailed out rebates to their customers who had been paying it for years on their gigantic HDD-based iPods.


RE: What difference does it make?
By phxfreddy on 2/17/09, Rating: -1
RE: What difference does it make?
By Hieyeck on 2/18/2009 8:31:51 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, only uploading is illegal is Canada. That's covered by "unauthorized broadcasting" in existing copyright laws. Downloading was justified as no different from recording off the radio. Even if the station was pirate radio, recording that would fall into the grey area, and our supreme court rule in downloader's favor.


By spikedbanana on 2/17/2009 11:37:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If the cops are downloading copyright material - why would they care if the public is doing it? It's not an issue in Canada like it is in the rest of the world.


I'm not sure which part of the country you're in but the cops will bust you if you openly sell copyright material. The night markets (or flea markets) now do not have copied material any more. Copy for personal use, everyone here does it including the cops and no one really cares.

If you think this free ride will last long, think again. Our Canadian Government has no balls and will bend over, say yes and then ask for more. I've only seen it reported once and I'm not sure if it's still in the works but the Canadian Government, US Government and the EU have teamed up to try and make it very difficult for you to have music, even legally purchased ones, on any of your devices (i.e. iPod, mp3 players, computer).

The artical goes on saying how it can be passed without any debate by by-passing the house with the executive signature of the US President. This group has no representive that support the people just goverment officials and industry execs. It also goes on saying how US, Canada, and EU border agents and police can search your iPod's music and fine/jail you for illegally downloaded music. It was to be passed by the end of 2008. I'm not sure where this is at or if it has been shot down, but when there's money involved, illegal or not they will try anything.

If anyone has any more info about this, post the link please.


RE: What difference does it make?
By omnicronx on 2/17/2009 12:43:58 PM , Rating: 3
In a word no, no they will not. So I don't know why you were rated up, because you happen to be wrong. The only cases in Canada in which someone has been charged involved the distribution of illegal files on a mass scale, specifically hosting and running a release group from their house. In fact legislation is just going through now (if it even gets passed) to allow police to view ISP logs with a warrant..(i.e there is no way of getting proof right now).

I'm pretty sure you could even go to the tallest building and screem "I HAVE 500GB OF ILLEGAL MP3's" and nobody could do anything about it. Essentially only the distribution of copyright material is illegal in Canada. I am sure there are some special cases, but we do not have the RIAA going around suing everyone, mainly because they can't.


RE: What difference does it make?
By Suntan on 2/17/2009 1:22:17 PM , Rating: 5
They would only care if a person was copying Celine Dion.

But honestly now, if you can stomach listening to Celine Dion, prison time would be a cake walk.

-Suntan


RE: What difference does it make?
By omnicronx on 2/17/2009 2:36:50 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
They would only care if a person was copying Celine Dion.
We offloaded Celine on you guys a long time ago, and besides your statement is incorrect. We only care if a person is copying Bryan Adams.. obviously..

-I'm not Funny


RE: What difference does it make?
By majorpain on 2/18/2009 7:53:30 AM , Rating: 2
LMFAO!!! Good one!!


RE: What difference does it make?
By Phlargo on 2/17/2009 12:41:05 PM , Rating: 3
You've just added a new favorite lobby to my panoply of lobbying organizations: "Big Content" Brilliant.


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