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The Pirate Bay's leadership were sentenced by a Swedish court to a year in jail and over $3M USD in damages for assisting copyright infringement. The defiant leadership announced a press conference, pictured here, to discuss their planned appeal of the verdict.  (Source: rstmfnvideo/Flickr)
Despite a spirited fight, Sweden's most high profile pirates get sent to the jail

The Pirate Bay was the world's largest torrent site; feeding millions of users downloading legally obtained and illegally infringed works.  It was the latter that cause the admins’ home nation of Sweden to drop the hammer and announce conspiracy charges and other charges against the feisty pirates. The parties involved included Peter “brokep” Sunde Kolmisoppi, Gottfrid “anakata” Svartholm, Fredrik “TiAMO” Neij, as well as Carl Lundström, who hosted the site via his company, Rix Telecom.

The groups once had dreams of founding their own country, but the proud pirates fell, facing the legal fight of their lives.  From telling the lawyers of the
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) who were assisting Swedish authorities to "go screw themselves" to releasing intriguing figures that 80 percent of their torrents were legal, the pirates put up a spirited fight indeed.  For a time, it seemed they had the prosecution on the ropes -- they had to alter their charges against the group, faced with difficulty proving their current case.

However, in the end it was not enough, and the Stockholm district court found the four pirates guilty of assisting copyright infringement sending them to a year of hard time in jail.  To add insult to injury, the court also ordered them to give up their bounty, ordering SEK 30 million ($3.59M USD) in damages.

The three week trial concluded with a somewhat surprising victory for the prosecution.  The verdict stated that the Pirate Bay leadership was guilty of "promoting other people's infringements of copyright laws."

The Swedish officials have discovered that their plans to place the feisty group behind bars might be put on hold though, as the group plans an appeal.  The Pirate Bay states, "This will not be the final decision, only the first before the losing party will appeal. It will have no real effect on anything besides setting the tone for the debate."

Mr. Kolmisoppi (brokep) twittered this morning urging Pirate Bay fans to stay calm, and noted that there would be no interruption in their service or their fight against the charges.  He wrote, "Nothing will happen to TPB, us personally or file-sharing whatsoever."

The leadership held a special press conference for the media at the Museum of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden.  At the conference were Rasmus Fleischer of Piratbyrån, Sara Sajjad of Piratbyrån, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg (aka Anakata), Peter Sunde (aka Brokep) and Magnus Eriksson of Piratbyrån. Fredrik Neij (TiAMO) and the fourth defendant Carl Lundström were not in attendance.

A defiant Mr. Warg challenged Sweden's leadership to try to stop the site, stating, "What are they going to do? They have already failed to take the site down once. Let them fail again.  It has its own life without us."

As to the order to surrender his supposed bounty, he states, "I already have more debt in Sweden than I will ever be able to pay off. I don’t even live here. They are welcome to send me a bill. I will frame it and put it on the wall."

Asked if he viewed his campaign as fight for technology, Mr. Kolmisoppi responded, "I think it is something in between actually. We have a personal liability for this, we have a personal risk which has some impact on our feelings. But definitely it’s not defending the technology, it’s more like defending the idea of the technology and that’s probably the most important thing in this case - the political aspect of letting the technology be free and not controlled by an entity which doesn’t like technology."  

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RE: All I can think of is...
By JasonMick on 4/17/2009 9:59:31 AM , Rating: 5
The real irony of the corporate record industry doing so poorly is that the independent industry is flourishing -- a lot of labels are doing better than ever before and there's tons of new labels.

What people are realizing (finally) is that there's about 10-20 percent of "radio hit" material that's can be praised as catchy, though ultimately brainless, prepackaged material not written by the artists themselves, but 80-90 percent isn't even catchy -- its just garbage, the poor result of overblown production (perfect example -- Fergie). THAT is why the corporate record industry is failing. While their big stars may still be selling CDs, the industry is spending so much to promote them and missing out on truly worthwhile talent that its a losing game.

The industry ultimately would be best served taking a break from litigation and trying to reevaluate its own bottom line. The problem is you have a corporate music industry, that's about making an artificial pop product, not *real* music. Its ultimately a question of whether you can support an industry that essentially holds up the Fergies and Spears as the future of music over the likes of the Dylan and the Beatles (and worthwhile modern artists).

/end ramble

RE: All I can think of is...
By ClownPuncher on 4/17/2009 11:46:04 AM , Rating: 2

RE: All I can think of is...
By dxf2891 on 4/17/2009 12:00:09 PM , Rating: 5
No the real irony is that I had no idea that torrents existed until this trial. I just got kicked off of Comcast for exceeding their bandwidth limit. This has got to be in the top 5 inventions of the 21st century. The only thing this trial, and trials like this, has done is make people aware of an attractive technology that they don't want us to use. It reminds me of that joke of the rich farmers very attractive daughter. "You can have anything, BUT my daughter." Now it's the ONLY thing you want.

RE: All I can think of is...
By mmntech on 4/17/2009 12:42:55 PM , Rating: 5
It's far easier to sue people and harass legitimate customers than it is to produce content people actually want to pay for.

This case just serves to expose the huge flaws with global copyright laws. Jail time seems completely unnecessary for this crime. They're hardly a danger to society and it's not as if they're producing the content and offering it on their own servers. Pirate Bay is just a search engine. They do encourage piracy but they are not an active accomplice to it. I've always found it ironic that the punishment for downloading a song is stiffer than shoplifting a CD. That's lobbying dollars and donations to countless political campaigns gets you. I don't even think the banks or the big unions have as much power over the government as Hollywood does.

RE: All I can think of is...
By TA152H on 4/17/2009 2:55:49 PM , Rating: 5
The funny part of your post is how you spout your opinions on what's worthwhile, and then treat it as uncontestable. Have you listened to the Beatles lately? It's very simple, and very pop. Bob Dylan sounds like a croaking wounded coyote. This is your idea of musical talent, but it's not universal.

Mozart could write more complicated music when he was eight then they could as an adult, and Bach's incredible grasp of polyphony would be well beyond their limited talents.

So, I could be as arrogant and presumptuous as you and say no one should listen to the simple, brain-dead rubbish from the Beatles and Bob Dylan, since it's sorely lacking the talent of Mozart, Bach, or Haydn, but the reality is, if it makes someone happy and brings pleasure to listen to it, then I'm all for Fergie, or Britney Spears, etc... Unless I have to hear it, of course :-P .

RE: All I can think of is...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/17/2009 4:47:36 PM , Rating: 3
Have you listened to the Beatles lately?

No, but I still respect them.

It's very simple, and very pop.

Most of their big radio hits, maybe. But you are wrong on your premise. Coldplay is simple too, and sorry, nobody 40 years from now are going to credit them with helping invent an entire genre.

I applaud your attempt at a devils advocate argument, but nobody is buying it. Today's music mostly sucks, and we all know it.

RE: All I can think of is...
By Oregonian2 on 4/18/2009 4:24:43 PM , Rating: 3
I once started reading a music "class" that included how some of the super-power classical (Bach, etc) wrote songs. I was surprised how at least the example given for one of their super "hits" was really a short sequence of notes that were repeated over and over again, just with with variations. Not much different than a pop song, but done with an orchestra instead. I was expecting all kinds of genius complexity -- but it really was very simple.

P.S. - There's at least one set of Baroque'ized Beatle music. Pretty good.

RE: All I can think of is...
By knowyourenemy on 4/21/2009 1:49:17 PM , Rating: 2
True genius lies in the management of simplicity.

RE: All I can think of is...
By artemicion on 4/17/2009 3:33:37 PM , Rating: 2
Can't fault the industry for selling what people are buying. You may think Fergie and Spears are crap (not saying your wrong either), but people are buying it, so I hardly think that the record industry is doing poorly because of Fergie and Spears.

And while you're launching your highly subjective hate missles at Fergie and Spears, why not send some toward Sesame Street. I always thought their jingles were rather simplistic and infantile. Surely nothing as masterful as Dylan or the Beatles. Shame on every person who buys a copy of Elmo's Christmas songs when they could be spending that money on Abbey Road!

RE: All I can think of is...
By Reclaimer77 on 4/17/2009 4:49:56 PM , Rating: 2
You may think Fergie and Spears are crap (not saying your wrong either), but people are buying it


Dude the last time Britney sold anything, I was in HIGH SCHOOL. Over 10 years ago. Fergie and Spears sales are in the tank. What are you talking about ?

RE: All I can think of is...
By artemicion on 4/17/2009 6:54:27 PM , Rating: 3
Ok replace Fergie and Spears with whatever pop artist you hate that is currently at the top of the charts (Miley Cyrus? Akon? I neither know nor care). Excuse me for continuing to use the example that was originally put forth by the previous post in order to maintain continuity.

RE: All I can think of is...
By sheh on 4/18/2009 11:32:53 PM , Rating: 2
Spears' last album (end of 2008) sold something like 2 million copies, and the tour that followed has already made 25 million US$.

RE: All I can think of is...
By SiliconDoc on 4/25/2009 6:41:54 AM , Rating: 2
Remember when people kept telling us news has become entertainment, and they are just giving the people what they want...
Now the news is dropping like a rock...the traditional channels are dying, the traditional papers are dying, magazines, dying...
IMO what happened was their sickening corruption and lying ways were exposed - and that is leading to their destruction and death.
Must be the same in the music industry - the old powerful heads like wall of sound hairball Phil was in court for murder - the communications age brought the lies and tricks and walls and shenanigans to the attention of the music lovers, and they rejected the pravda top 40 and the control of the giant labels.
Their evil, lying eyes sold them out - and people became disgusted with them -
Same thing for our government here in the USA - they really, really blew it - their 20 year subprime crime spree was followed by another insta crime and coverup spree that has been rocking the entire world - and exposing that they were all in on it together - the entire world that is - the top tier...
Downside looks like in the case of the biggest criminals and the biggest, costliest, in our face crime spree humanity has ever known or been witness to on a worldwide basis, they are going to get away with it, and when doing so, lock in a good 20 more years of crime...
Fergie and Spears might lose power and sway and get replaced, but real disgraces at the helm feeding us all this crap, it appears, shall remain.

RE: All I can think of is...
By Belard on 4/17/2009 5:02:54 PM , Rating: 2
The real irony of the corporate record industry doing so poorly is that the independent industry is flourishing -- a lot of labels are doing better than ever before and there's tons of new labels.

Agreed... I'll be going to a concert next week from a "small" euro band, again. I don't listen to the radio much, its mostly crap or rap-crap, noise and plenty of no-talent cuties. Now, some of the crap is a bit catchy... but there is far better stuff out there from local bands and real artist.

There are reasons why Beatles, Pink Floyd, Aerosmith and other muscians can last for decades and still sell their music. Spears has lasted longer than she should have, she's been replaced like any other idol singer. typical life-span is about 2~4 years... then they turn into OLD people like the rest of us.

One of my favorite artist is Japanese, she's been making music for over 20 years (some of which is in America) that is top notch. She composes, performs and work with other musicans around the world. That is talent.

RE: All I can think of is...
By nugundam93 on 4/19/2009 8:07:07 PM , Rating: 2
belard, who's that artist? i'm guessing though she's not yoko kanno?

RE: All I can think of is...
By SDMFdingo on 4/18/2009 11:56:25 AM , Rating: 2
I'm new, I don't know how to up-rate. +6

RE: All I can think of is...
By trabpukcip on 4/18/2009 1:15:20 PM , Rating: 2
Only staff can give a +6

RE: All I can think of is...
By UsernameX on 4/19/2009 6:46:10 PM , Rating: 2

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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