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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 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.

"We shipped it on Saturday. Then on Sunday, we rested." -- Steve Jobs on the iPad launch
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