Print 70 comment(s) - last by JoshuaBuss.. on Feb 26 at 9:53 PM

Content industry finds its case in dire straits

In an attempt to refine its criminal case against The Pirate Bay, prosecutors once again altered the charges placed against Pirate Bay figureheads Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundström.

Swedish newspaper The Local reports that the prosecution made two adjustments:

  • Completely dropping a sentence that read, “All components are necessary for users of the service are able to share files with one another.”
  • Changing “upload” to “upload and store” in the sentence “provide the ability to others to upload torrent files to the service.”

In an interview with Wired, Stockholm University legal scholar Daniel Westman said the ‘all components’ line likely placed extra difficulty in proving the prosecution’s claims, as it may feel “uncertain” it can show that “all components” of the site – its search engine, its tracker, and its torrent database – are necessary to commit infringement.

“The question is whether the defendants fulfill the requirements in the penal code for complicity in a crime,” said Westman. “One could maybe argue that the degree of complicity were higher if all three components could be proven, but the court may as well decide that only one or two is enough.”

Tuesday also saw the first round of testimony from the plaintiffs, with International Federation of Phonographic Industries lawyer Magnus Mårtensson taking the stand.

Mårtensson testified that he successfully searched for, downloaded, and listened to a copy of the album “Intensive Care” by British pop rock star Robbie Williams. He then presented screenshots documenting the download process.

In the defense’s cross-examination, however, Mårtensson later admitted that part of his testimony was based on assumptions, on account of his lack of expertise in file-sharing; when asked whether his was sure his BitTorrent client used The Pirate Bay’s tracker, he replied, “I just assumed it.”

Defense attorney Per E. Samuelson pressed further, asking Mårtensson to confirm exactly what his BitTorrent client was doing. “I can’t answer that,” replied Mårtensson.

When asked whether he knew he could also download .torrent files on Google, Mårtensson’s answer was the same.

“I’ve never done it using Google. I can’t answer that,” he said.

Immediately following Mårtensson’s testimony came a similar, though far more solid, briefing from ex-police officer Anders Nilsson, who now works to the anti-piracy group Antipiratbyrån.

The media industry appears to find itself on increasingly shaky ground – an authors community on Facebook, asked for a few choice quips for prosecution to use in its closing arguments, recently observed that “the whole situation is dominated by the pirates.”

Humorously, the author who posted that comment – Carina Rydberg – had previously and begrudgingly praised The Pirate Bay, in the same Facebook group, for helping her track down books and movies that she could not find otherwise.

“The Pirate Bay is an invaluable source for content that publishers, record labels and movie studios for some reason can't or won't offer,” she wrote. “If someone on The Pirate Bay chose to download the book I wrote in 1989 I would have no objection to that. That novel is practically impossible to get hold of and as an author I want to be read.”

The hybrid civil/criminal trial against The Pirate Bay kicked off last week to a packed courtroom, and is expected to conclude by the end of the week.

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By B3an on 2/25/2009 7:44:09 AM , Rating: 3
F*** the greedy corrupt corperations. They're worse than the pirates.

By SpaceOddity85 on 2/25/2009 7:56:36 AM , Rating: 4
/devil's advocate

I'm against suffocating corporate practices as much as the next guy, but are they really the only side being greedy regarding the P2P issue?

By phxfreddy on 2/25/2009 8:02:34 AM , Rating: 2
If you want to endanger 2nd order value added purveyors like google you should take the recording companies position.

Personally I think that would be misguided. You should watch the "open source economics" video originally on TED that is here:

A short summary would be that distributed production is the new paradigm and that we can take that far if we are unhindered by the throw backs that brought this case against the search engine. ( with the politically incorrect name "pirate bay" )

By JoshuaBuss on 2/25/2009 8:03:20 PM , Rating: 2
I really don't think google is in the same business as pirate bay. I don't know why people just keep equating TPB to a search engine.. they're a torrent TRACKER. Tell me, where's google's torrent tracker?

By Pryde on 2/25/2009 9:57:10 PM , Rating: 3
The point is that both google and TPB can be used to search for legal AND copyrighted material. The only difference is one does it with P2P and the other does it with HTTP.

If TPB was to fall other trackers will pick up the slack.

By Pryde on 2/25/2009 10:01:44 PM , Rating: 2
Also Google will link you to Torrents from TPB

By JoshuaBuss on 2/25/2009 10:10:10 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed, but they don't TRACK torrents. seriously, why is this prosecution having such a hard time explaining how bit torrent works?

If bit torrent was truly p2p, it wouldn't have nearly the success it's had.. it needs trackers to function at its full capacity, and the pirate bay is far and away a leader for tracking torrents.. then just look at their most popular torrents to get a feel for what they're known for / used for the most and you can liken them to a gun store that sells primarily to criminals.

By Pryde on 2/25/2009 11:19:03 PM , Rating: 3
Google Caches many web pages that have copyrighted images on them. You download these from Google servers. How is that not sharing copyrighted material? Most people here agree that copyrighted material needs to be protected but are against the way that the RIAA and the like are going about it.

Take for example Gears of War 2, DRM stopped people who purchased it Legally from playing until they applied the patch, The pirates had no such problem. Spore was another great example. Punishing those who bought it legally and doing nothing to stop those downloading it illegally.

By ccmfreak2 on 2/26/2009 9:13:27 AM , Rating: 3
Pryde, you summed up my feelings on the situation perfectly. Most of my decisions are made off of ethics as opposed to law (most of what is illegal is also unethical, but not everything that is legal is also ethical). I personally find it unethical to take copies of copyrighted material, but - as a consumer - I don't want to be screwed over either. That doesn't mean I agree entirely with the RIAA.

DRM is the reason why I haven't bought/played Spore. And it is the reason why I only download music from Amazon. I want the artists to get paid for their work, but I don't want to be screwed out of my product either.

By JoshuaBuss on 2/26/2009 9:53:50 PM , Rating: 2
No, the caches are only used for making the thumbnails, which are tiny and low enough resolution that it's not considering infringement. These are the only copies of the images actually stored on google's servers.

When you click on "google's cached version of the page" the images need to still be present on the original server to show up.

I agree with your views on piracy and DRM, but I still don't think torrent tracker sites are as blame-free as people are suggesting by trying to equate them to a simple search site. They're facilitating the sharing of illegal material much moreso than simply hosting links.. they're hosting a p2p tracking SERVICE.

By Master Kenobi on 2/25/2009 8:09:06 AM , Rating: 5
I get rather tired of the "Devils advocate" term as it seems to be used interchangeably with I'm going to disagree to disagree.

To answer your question though, yes and no. No they are not the only ones being greedy. If a system exists, people will use it to their advantage. Taxes, Relief Funds, File Sharing, Google, etc.... People game the system all the time. At the same time though, as was outlined. Many of the works you can find as Torrents, do not exist anywhere and can not be purchased. Let's say you want to watch the original Power Rangers TV show from a few years back, check on Amazon and other places and you will find it doesn't exist. However, a quick google search for filetype .torrent and bam, instant match with the entire series broken down by seasons. Granted they are most likely broadcast versions someone encoded on their PC, they exist and people can watch them. Now if the MPAA/RIAA was even semi-intelligent they would offer this through iTunes, Amazon, or another vendor to actually sell the damn things. How can you make a product, show it off and then not sell it. Then complain when someone makes a knockoff that people obtain because they want to see it again? This would be the equivalent of (Given my example) Disney releasing a blockbuster movie in the theatres, but never putting it out on DVD. However, every few years they might decide to dust it off and put it back in theatres for a short period of time before once more retiring it to the archives, again with no DVD.

By phxfreddy on 2/25/09, Rating: -1
By phxfreddy on 2/25/09, Rating: -1
By MrTeal on 2/25/2009 10:29:49 AM , Rating: 2
I'm pretty sure he meant they're disagreeing simple because they want to disagree and like the hear themselves talk. Ring any bells Freddy?

By ThePooBurner on 2/25/2009 11:24:19 AM , Rating: 2
He means "disagree for the sake of disagreeing". the person disagrees to[for no reason other than] disagree.

By phxfreddy on 2/25/2009 12:37:51 PM , Rating: 2
Yes....but its a really funny way of saying it. What's wrong? Have to censor the fun stuff now too?

By MrTeal on 2/25/2009 9:56:32 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe if they can't find the original Power Rangers TV show for purchase, they should thank the publishers and find something (anything) else to watch. :P

By A Stoner on 2/25/2009 10:50:37 AM , Rating: 2
I think they actually do this... Or maybe that is your point. Star Wars is another example of limited releases, or no releases. Probably the reason it has such a CULT following, or HAD. It seems to have lost that CULTISH feeling after they released the DVDs of it.

By Fireshade on 2/26/2009 7:04:47 AM , Rating: 2
Come on, you mean to say that you totally missed the Star Wars trilogy being released on VHS and Laserdisc?
Loosing its cult status has nothing to do with making them more available. It has more to do with its impact on the memory of generations.

By segerstein on 2/25/2009 6:06:24 PM , Rating: 3
Mr Kenobi, you are talking that the situation is dire in the US - nowhere to get the content that is not requested so much. Imagine yourself in a small European country and what you can get there. The latest US TV shows are will be available in two years, on average.

iTunes and Amazon, which have contracts with large content producers require US credit cards if you want to buy the US stuff :-|

By adiposity on 2/25/2009 7:45:16 PM , Rating: 2
This would be the equivalent of (Given my example) Disney releasing a blockbuster movie in the theatres, but never putting it out on DVD.

This is either a poor example or a great one, depending on your purposes. The truth is that Disney already does this. They sell DVDs of old animated movies, but frequently pull them from the shelves for long periods of time. Then when sufficient nostalgia has built up, they re-release it with added features or transfer improvements and call it a "special edition." The result is that they sell more in a short time of these DVDs because people who are aware of the situation jump on these sales out of fear that the DVDs will be off the market for another 5 years. They can also charge more due to this limited availability.

So basically, they do exactly what you warn the MPAA is doing with shows and other hard to find media, except the re-release medium is not necessarily film.

Does Disney have a right to do this? Of course they do. And of course any publisher has the right not to publish things that they feel wouldn't maximize their profits. This does not equate to them giving up the rights on this media, as they may wish to take advantage of it at a future date. This is already being done in the short term with the timing of summer blockbusters and christmas comedies. Does their failure to release imply a right to watch bootlegs before the fact? Or does the release in theatres somehow obligate providing personal copies via DVD within a short time frame and perpetually after the fact?

These are not easy questions to answer and I suspect "pirates" haven't thought about all of them in depth.

My personal view is the "abandonware" rule If a publisher refuses to publish something because it just won't make them any money, after a long enough time I don't care about pirating it. I don't care if it's legal or not.


By omnicronx on 2/25/09, Rating: -1
By phxfreddy on 2/25/2009 8:41:53 AM , Rating: 5
You can use google to perform essentially the same task. If you set a precedent such as this where the search engine function is criminalized you will set back the cause of freedom.

You may not like guns...however you can not punish the gun manufacturers when someone in the hood robs a liquor store.

If you start down this road you might as well check into the Grey Rock Hilton right now and not bother to wait because we are all criminals by the time the lawyers who are constant gaming for an edge against us normal folk are done.

By omnicronx on 2/25/09, Rating: 0
By meepstone on 2/25/2009 9:28:06 AM , Rating: 1
Your missing his point. you can use google, yahoo, msn to find the same torrents and start downloading them. should we arrest the ceo's of those companies? then we'd be arresting bill gates.

By omnicronx on 2/25/09, Rating: 0
By DASQ on 2/25/2009 10:53:05 AM , Rating: 2
If you go with your definition that TPB is 'merely' the user upload site, then the corporations have exactly 0 ground to stand on. They are trying to prove that TPB is hosting or encouraging the spread of copyright materials.

Who's side are you on?!

By omnicronx on 2/25/09, Rating: -1
By Tegeril on 2/25/2009 2:08:05 PM , Rating: 2
The expression you were looking for was:

"couldn't care less"

By jRaskell on 2/25/2009 2:23:13 PM , Rating: 2
I was stating the differences between the two search engines, Google is a crawler, TPB is not. Google adheres to take down notices, TPB does not.

Google is a global corporation, and legally HAS to adhere to take down notices. TPB is NOT a global corporation, and Swedish law provides no requirements whatsoever to respond to any sort of take down notice.

Bottom line, Google is simply obeying the laws they have to obey, and TPB is obeying the laws they have to obey. The fact that TPB does not adhere to take down notices is 100% irrelevant.

Google does not fall under this category as they do not provide the ability to upload torrent files

TPB does not provide any more ability to upload torrent files than Google does. That ability is provided by the bittorrent client, and to my knowledge TPB does not provide their own bittorrent client.

and the lack of adhering to take down notices tells me that they think this is acceptable. This is what I have a problem with.

So, your only problem is with the fact that TPB is only obeying Swedish law, and thus should be punished for it. It appears as if you really just have a misplaced notion of exactly where the source of your problem actually is.

And don't believe for one second that Google would adhere to takedown notices if they weren't legally required to do so.

By omnicronx on 2/25/2009 3:12:57 PM , Rating: 1
Google is a global corporation, and legally HAS to adhere to take down notices.
Are you trying to imply you need to be a global corporation to be required to adhere to take down notices? If you personally created a website with illegal content, you could be subject to a take down notice. If you fail to comply, you could be taken to court.
So, your only problem is with the fact that TPB is only obeying Swedish law, and thus should be punished for it.
They have already been charged! Am I the only one that notices this? Your point is nothing more than personal opinion. We will find out after this week whether or not the charges were justified but there certainly ARE laws in place, whether or not TPB falls under the category of these laws in another issue, and it is one for the courts to decide not yours or mine.
TPB does not provide any more ability to upload torrent files than Google does. That ability is provided by the bittorrent client, and to my knowledge TPB does not provide their own bittorrent client.
Sure they do, you physically upload the torrent tracker to their site, can you please tell me where I can do this with Google?

I think you guys also fail to realize that you can't force a company to sue/lay charges against Google. While I don't agree that TPB is under the same category as Google, even if they were, they are complying to IFPI requests, i.e they takedown links upon request.

This is no different than say me getting assaulted by person A and B. Person A appoligizes and person B does not.

I then decide to lay charges only against person B and not A. I am under no legal obligation to lay charges against both attackers.

By Penti on 2/25/2009 4:59:10 PM , Rating: 2
As Google is an American corporation, Google isn't responsible for materials published by users under the CDA. In Sweden TPB actually is even if they didn't even have a registered entity. Youtube wouldn't be legal if it where based in Sweden. They could be charged with accessory here. US law actually frees them from this liability. In Sweden there is no need for a take down notice if it's apparent that the user infringe copyright. So of course if you show intent not to remove something that's illegal you will get a harsher sentence. However the lawyers doesn't seem smart enough to be able to sentence them for anything.

By lco45 on 2/26/2009 12:31:24 AM , Rating: 2
Hi Omnicronx, I'm disagreeing with you, but I will say you're a coherent arguer.

My disagreement is that Google does allow users to upload and store copyright content. They do this using their youtube service.

I like the TV show Scrubs, which is copyright content. I have never uploaded and stored this show onto youtube, but a quick search will show you that many other people have.

This is a more serious infringement of copyright than allowing the upload and storing of a link, because this is uploading and storing of the actual material itself.

I suspect the prosecution will fail, however if it succeeds we will see some extremely interesting cases against Google soon after.


By maverick85wd on 2/25/2009 1:24:49 PM , Rating: 2
actually, Mr. Gates is retired.

By tastyratz on 2/25/2009 9:03:59 AM , Rating: 2
Torrent sites, yes there is a problem.
Release groups? well that is separate.

Torrent sites are public domain for any content and non discriminatory just as any kind of search engine. People can put legal and illegal stuff on there, and there is plenty of both.

Release groups are actually going out, getting the software, and doing the distribution. Those are the people actually performing the infringement, those are the people in the legal wrong zone.

Your blaming the pen instead of the penman with the torrent sites.

By omnicronx on 2/25/09, Rating: 0
By nycromes on 2/25/09, Rating: 0
By omnicronx on 2/25/2009 11:55:22 AM , Rating: 1
IMO the above comments are akin to someone saying we shouldn't charge a getaway driver with the crime because they didn't actually go into the bank to get the money, they just sat outside and helped the real criminal(s) escape.
Aside from this, I would have to agree. (in this case being a party to the crime of armed robbery would be the charge)
Do any of you seriously think TPB was created to distribute legal works? Their name states quite clearly that the creators knew what their service was for.
Can't say others agree with this, as I got flamed in the previous article on the subject when I said the same thing.
Personally, I think that there is much blame on both sides of the fight (with corporations and TPB).
Thank you, best comment I have read all day.. I don't feel sorry for either sides here, both are in the wrong.

By L33tMasta on 2/25/2009 1:34:19 PM , Rating: 2
I swear omnicronx works for the MPAA. Just look at how he defends them and how he's all for them taking our freedoms away.

By omnicronx on 2/25/2009 2:56:04 PM , Rating: 2
I swear omnicronx works for the MPAA.
Its true, you got me.. I can't believe my cover lasted this long.
Just look at how he defends them and how he's all for them taking our freedoms away.
Ok I concede, what was I thinking? I mean what on earth compelled me to believe pirating IP was not a right.

By tastyratz on 2/26/2009 9:36:22 AM , Rating: 2
I think it would be more akin to a taxi driver carting people all over town. The **AA wants the driver to run a background check on every passenger to see if they are fugatives, and the taxi just wants to drive people and not dedicate his resources into something that's not his job... While letting the police hunt and track fugitives.

A getaway driver is not escorting an girl to see her grandmother (legal content) they are knowingly and purposely engaging in illegal activities ONLY. This would be a good comparison if there was no legal content at ALL, and they sorted the site discarding anything that looked legal.

In reality, tpb doesn't really look at anything. This makes them more like Google to be honest.

By notolerance on 2/25/2009 6:55:26 PM , Rating: 2
And your point is? In the rest of the EU this is illegal, and come April 1st in Sweden, it will probably be illegal too.(this is the date that Sweden is expected to implement the EU enforcement of intellectual property rights).

You have just in one post, completely contradicted almost every other post you have made on this subject. So, now you are saying that presently what TPB are doing is legal in THEIR country... and it is only probable/expected that come April 1st, it will be illegal? How can you make statements on something that is not definitive?!!

Then in an earlier post, you get upset over someone giving their opinion, when in fact, what you are doing is one in the same?!!

The hole is getting deeper, I suggest you stop digging... /opinion

By A Stoner on 2/25/09, Rating: 0
By Samus on 2/25/2009 4:36:10 PM , Rating: 2
I just don't see how these guys are responsible for the users of their site. Did they pirate anything? Do they work for any release groups?

By FITCamaro on 2/25/2009 10:07:06 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah screw those people who make all the stuff that is obviously so good you'll break the law to get it!

By lucre on 2/25/2009 7:30:18 PM , Rating: 2
fit and omni... i am glad you are not in leadership. you obviously lack any level of analytical ability.

omni-- i and everyone else can see what you were trying to say this whole time... that the intent of these two entities, google and tbp are different, you and the prosecutors are just going about dealing with ip the wrong way.

i get tired of people yelling about their freedoms all the time, not because i am against freedoms, but because usually when people complain about their freedoms in america (and some european countries) they are attempting to advocate some alterior motive. for instance, on the fourth of july every year my neighboor complains his freedom to do what he wants on the public roads: he want to use fireworks more than just the day of. in reality, he could care less about his 'freedom', he just want to blow stuff up whenever he feels like. unfortunately for the rest of us, he fails to realize that if everyone possessed and exersized this 'freedom', our nights and periods of driving would be he11 to get through.

if you understand the metaphor, we are currently at or near that point.

now the reason you keep losing arguements, at least conceptually, is that you fail to realize that everyone who keeps rating you down cleverly leaves out the intent part of pirate bay vs. google, which you sorta-not-really touched on above, tho inadvertantly so, if i had to guess. in the end however, what you argued was wrong. we have the right to share services and products in whatever forum we so choose... it is illegal distribution of goods and services which you oppose, and so you logically should either be defending tpb, attacking the real criminals here, or just be quiet.

that being said, there is some merit to the freedom arguement:
all the people arguing that technically tpb did nothing wrong are probably right, and if the law ends up saying they are wrong... well... we know they should be right.
however , there is also some merit to your arguement. people shouldnt be stealing ip on a day to day and massive scale, the fact of the matter is that is dangerously close to communism in our capitalist society, and more importantly just plain disrespectful to the artists.

now before you go patting yourself on the back for being "in the right" (as i m sure you have already done), you might consider the issue as just that, a dynamic issue with more to consider than just what you think. if you could manage to think beyond your own opinions, you would have noticed that what we are experiencing is what marx predicted the proletariat would do, just on a restricted and micro scale.

before you go off the wall for me comparing our super patriotic defense of liberty to marx style communism, let me explain.

way back when cds came out, if any media company had brains behind the wheel, they would have recognized it as a tremendous opportunity, not just to make money, but to generate customer loyalty. cds, when mass produced, are vastly less expensive to produce and ship than any previous method of media storage (you can probably see where i am going with this...). had they even conveyed a fraction of those savings to the consumer, it would have been huge. now is it a surprise that they chose the more money option? no. it is a surprise however, where they went with it. that is the beginning of what i consider the beginning of their massive problems. anything from sony's rediculousness to this drm business we all have grown to hate followed the trend they started with cds. if u cant see how this is related, just hold on to whatever your shortsighted little hands can catch ahold of and keep reading. in the past few years, these companies have discovered that they can charge simpy fantastic amounts of money for a product, and people will still want it enough to buy it. what we are seeing right now, in this trial, is existing law trying to handle the conflict between those companies, and the natural consumer response to overpriced and irreplacable goods. if a game is too hard to install properly, too expensive, or just has annoying security features, you can have an easier time of torrenting it. that being said, just going out and buying a product that doesnt fit one of those catagories is probably easier, and certainly more morally palatable. the reason that we are seeing so many people uploading and downloading illegal material is obviously not b/c they want to screw he people who own the ip but b/c it is easier, monitarily or technically, to buy and use. and so, you see the common people have basically created and used a system to transport goods and services which have been given one univeral price: free. is this a step towards communism? no. is this justified? yes. if these idiotic companies had the brains to sell their products for a reasonable price, in a forum that was easy to use, i think history shows the people dont mind giving credit (and money) where it is due.

in short, what we are seeing is the market's natural and predictable response to overpriced, overcomplicated and over-annoying products to which there are few alternatives. we are not trying to necessarily screw anybody over, this is just whats natural; because inherntly, people don't steal to get those products.

By Scrogneugneu on 2/25/2009 8:07:40 PM , Rating: 2
Please release that as a full-blown movie so I can know what it's all about. I don't feel like reading for 3 hours.

By lucre on 2/25/2009 8:42:14 PM , Rating: 2
I put the synopsis at the bottom of the post. In case you missed it... its in bold . Its even on the same page as all the people complaining about not wanting to read the whole thing. Come on. And why did I put a summary there? For people like you... at least skip to the bottom... the good stuffs always at the end.

And if that takes you more than a couple minutes to read, I strongly suggest you take up reading. as in books.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser
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