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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: So...
By omnicronx on 4/17/2009 10:00:29 AM , Rating: 0
I guess all the music videos uploaded on youtube should be banned because gosh, they're promoting us to listen to music for... FREE while google makes money from the ads in those videos.
Youtube (i.e Google) adheres to takedown requests on both Youtube and their search engine. This is what sets the apart from a site that obviously advocates piracy, and refuses to takedown illegal files after a request has been made.

Sure someone will come in and replace them, but that does not make it legal, or else perhaps we should just let all the drug dealers in jail go too.. (Now of course these are two completely different crimes but it the same idea, arrest a drug dealer, two will replace him)

RE: So...
By DigitalFreak on 4/17/2009 11:23:16 AM , Rating: 2
I guess you fail to realize that the DMCA and it's takedown notices do not apply to any country outside the US.

Considering how much of a joke the prosecution was in this trial, it's pretty obvious the judge was either a moron or had some other political agenda.

RE: So...
By omnicronx on 4/17/2009 4:20:12 PM , Rating: 1
I guess you fail to realize that the DMCA and it's takedown notices do not apply to any country outside the US.
Did I say DMCA takedown request? There are copyright infringement laws in pretty much every country, including Swedan, although much more lax than in the US.

Considering how much of a joke the prosecution was in this trial, it's pretty obvious the judge was either a moron or had some other political agenda.
You do realize if this case were held in any other first world nation, it would have been a slam dunk for the prosecution. In fact if this were the US, the hosting would have probably been contacted and had the site shutdown long before it even reached this stage.

However you want to put it, what these guys were doing was illegal on a mass scale. Going after individuals for having files in their shared folder is wrong, going after the source is not. So please stop crying, this is the one time the record companies are in the right. The guys wanted to make their own country, thats pretty much admitting they knew what they were doing was illegal.

RE: So...
By twjr on 4/17/2009 10:50:03 PM , Rating: 2
going after the source is not

The source of what? A search engine? So by that logic Google is also a source and should be prosecuted. TPB don't have any pirated materials on their servers so how can they be the source of anything?

RE: So...
By theapparition on 4/18/2009 7:49:48 PM , Rating: 2
The guys wanted to make their own country, thats pretty much admitting they knew what they were doing was illegal.

But that argument pretty much sums up the first English Pilgrims settling in the new world.

What they were doing was looking for a land that was free from persecution over basic rights. The result is a United States which still is the model for a democratic replublic for the rest of the world.

Not trying to draw any conclusions other than a little anarchy sometimes is a healthy thing.

RE: So...
By samoak54 on 4/19/2009 1:23:36 PM , Rating: 2
AHHHH... Nice to see the propagation of Lockean philosophy. Even if the source of prorogation has no idea what that is :P

RE: So...
By ClownPuncher on 4/17/2009 11:48:56 AM , Rating: 2
The only difference is that drug dealers are dealing drugs, and Pirate Bay is turning a blind eye to those that trade illegal software. So the only difference is...they are completely different situations.

RE: So...
By omnicronx on 4/17/2009 4:26:25 PM , Rating: 2
As I already said, I'm not comparing the crimes, but the outcomes of these crimes.

There will always be little fish to replace the big fish, but that not mean you stop hunting the big fish.

There really is no argument here, what they did was illegal, even in Sweden, and that says a lot.

I'm not really against piracy either, I do my fair share of illegal downloading, but I usually buy what I like. I just can't feel sorry for those that get into the business when they know it is illegal. If you want to take the risk, all the power to you, but don't whine and complain when everything comes crashing down on you.

RE: So...
By artemicion on 4/17/2009 7:35:57 PM , Rating: 3
Let's say that a man in your neighborhood runs a bar. He's got the beer, the alcohol license, etc. - everything he needs to run a legitimate bar business.

Let's also say EVERYBODY in town knows that the bar is a meth den. The owner doesn't directly profit from meth sales - he's just running his bar business.

Should there be a law that allows authorities to shut the bar down and/or punish the bar owner?

Does it change your answer if the prosecutor can show that a) the owner knew about the meth; and b) the owner profited from the meth indirectly because the people who came to buy meth also had a tendency to buy a beer from the owner as well?

"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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