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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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RE: GO 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?


RE: GO PIRATE BAY
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.


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

http://www.google.co.nz/search?q=the+pirate+bay+wi...


RE: GO PIRATE BAY
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.


RE: GO PIRATE BAY
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.


RE: GO PIRATE BAY
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.


RE: GO PIRATE BAY
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.


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