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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: Stupid, stupid rat creatures...
By Motoman on 4/17/2009 12:55:12 PM , Rating: 1
Also, I felt compelled to copy & paste from my own previous comment on a previous TPB thread, because this is really the nut of what the problem is with the very concept of this trial:

Any conviction of any computing service/product in this light, as being held responsible for the illegal actions of the people who use it, would set a precedent that would signal the end of the information age. Because the very first time a court rules that any product/service can be held accountable for what users do with it, you can then use that ruling to outlaw *every* computing technology across the board, because there is not a single piece of computing technology, whether product or service, that can't be used for ill of some kind.

For that reason, not only does <this> arguement fail, but all arguements against computing products/services fail, and must fail, because if they were ever to be held up in a court of law and used to prosecute against a product/service, then the era of computing is over.

...that is exactly the precedent that has just been set. If this decision is left to stand, the same exact argument can be used against every piece of technology ever created. Starting with obvious things, like Google (which finds illegal content for you just as easy as TPB), FireFox (which allows you to use things like TPB and Google), Microsoft Word and all other word processors (for example, how many times do you think word processors have enabled the plagiarism of other people's work in, say, college or research papers?), so on and so forth.

Welcome to the end of the world.

RE: Stupid, stupid rat creatures...
By artemicion on 4/17/2009 8:13:31 PM , Rating: 4
Why this is not the end of the world:

actus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea

"The act does not make a person guilty unless the mind is also guilty."

The act at issue is "promoting other people's infringements of copyright law", which basically sounds like being an accomplice to copyright violation.

In order to find someone guilty of this crime we would need an act (actus reus) AND intention (mens rea) in order to find someone guilty.

The requirement of intention is why there's a difference between a) a guy that sells someone a gun that happens to be used in a murder; and b) a guy that sells someone a gun and says "I want you to kill this person for me".

Person a) would not be guilty of "promoting other people's murder" because he lacked mens rea. Person b) would be guilty because he did have mens rea (intention).

Miller Brewing, John Deere, water, and Microsoft Word would all definitely fall in category a): people/entities who may have aided in the commission of crimes, but lacked intent.

I'm no expert on Swedish law, but I suspect what happened was that TPB put forth evidence disclaiming intention, such as "80% of our torrents are legal" and "we barely make a profit from running this site".

Prosecution countered with evidence of intention, such as "um, the name of your site is THE PIRATE BAY".

Jury found for prosecution.

Case closed.

RE: Stupid, stupid rat creatures...
By Motoman on 4/18/2009 2:02:49 PM , Rating: 2
Very cute, except for one small problem: there is no way, and almost certainly never will be a way, to determine mens rea.

You can just as easily say that somebody who developed code for any given word processor had an intention to make it easier for people to commit plagiarism. And, like arguing for or against the existance of god(s), there is no way to prove or disprove that.

The guys at TPB can just as easily say they're just huge fans of Johnny Depp, and that's why they called their site "The Pirate Bay." Which ultimately makes no difference anyway - if they'd called it something else - say, Demonoid, or TorrentSpy, or Bob - the lawsuit would still have been brought with the same arguments.

The same arguments can be used without alteration against Google and other search engines. No changes necessary.

So, while there may be some noble theory to what you've posted, it's utterly inapplicable to the real world, where the best you could hope for is a he-said-she-said about what someone's intentions were (or were not).

RE: Stupid, stupid rat creatures...
By artemicion on 4/18/2009 8:50:25 PM , Rating: 3
Very cute, except for one small problem: there is no way, and almost certainly never will be a way, to determine mens rea.

Dude, this is the way criminal law works. I mean, it's almost not worth arguing with you over because if you don't believe it, I can't help you. Every crime (with the exception of strict liability crimes, a small subset of specialized crimes that don't require proof of intent, such as statutory rape - you don't have to prove that the guy knew the girl was under 16) requires proof of mens rea. Ask any district attorney or public defender out there. Most crimes require you to prove intent.

You can just as easily say that somebody who developed code for any given word processor had an intention to make it easier for people to commit plagiarism. And, like arguing for or against the existance of god(s), there is no way to prove or disprove that.

Yes, you cannot prove to a certainty what a person's intent is. You can't prove ANYTHING to a certainty. Gravity hasn't been proven to a certainty. OJ murdering Anna Nicole wasn't proven to a certainty. But we can prove things beyond a reasonable doubt. Hey, that sounds familiar . . .

where the best you could hope for is a he-said-she-said about what someone's intentions were (or were not).

Every trial is he-said-she-said, I dunno if you realize this. That's what the factfinder (judge in a bench trial, jury in a jury trial) does - party A says one thing, party B says another thing, then judge/jury decides who's telling the truth.

You're fighting against a wall here dude. I'm just telling you this is how criminal law works in due process countries. You have to prove intent. Theft is defined as the taking of another person's property without that person's consent. Do you know why people who accidentally take another person's umbrella home from the office aren't afraid of being prosecuted for theft? Because the prosecutor can't prove INTENT.

There's ALREADY statutes criminalizing assisting in the commission of a crime and your proposed slippery slope has not occurred. Punishing people who assist others in violating copyrights is not going to end the world.

You're afraid Google is going to get in trouble because they helped people find Pirate Bay. You're afraid Dell is going to get in trouble because they built the computers that people used to find Pirate Bay. You're afraid Mountain Dew is going to get in trouble because they made the drink that provided sustenance to the people who used Pirate Bay.

And I'm telling you, Faberware is NOT afraid they are going to get in trouble because they made the knife that was used to stab someone. Nike is NOT afraid that they are going to get in trouble because they made the shoes that allowed the guy to run from the police. The murderer's grandmother is NOT afraid that she is going to get in trouble because she gave birth to the woman who gave birth to the guy who murdered the victim.

I'm trying to make an analogy here. You don't get in trouble if you don't have the INTENT to assist someone else in committing the crime. The Swedish Court determined (and not unreasonably) that the founders of Pirate Bay had the intent to assist others in violating copyright laws. They are guilty of assisting the violation of copyright laws.

The guys at TPB can just as easily say they're just huge fans of Johnny Depp, and that's why they called their site "The Pirate Bay."

And if they brought that argument, I would call bullshit. And I'm guessing the Swedish Court also called bullshit (though I highly doubt that TPB's lawyers raised that idiotic argument).

If the Swedish Court tries to prosecute Google, they are going to fail. They will be OVERWHELMED with evidence that Google was not invented with the intent to assist others in violating copyright laws.

There is nothing wrong here.

RE: Stupid, stupid rat creatures...
By Motoman on 4/19/2009 1:37:38 AM , Rating: 1
Sorry, don't buy it. TPB doesn't have any real interaction with anything happening with their service. It's all peer-to-peer. It's not the same as a bartender serving's more like TPB owns a plot of land and put up a sign saying "free public use." Some people will come and have a nice little picnic. Other people will use that land as a base for selling drugs and pimping hos.

As for the importance you seem to be applying to the name "The Pirate Bay" - do you honestly think this lawsuit wouldn't have been lodged if they called it "The Fluffy Bunny Happy Land?" Or..."Demonoid?" A name is BS in all cases. But if you're right, then every torrent tracking site that doesn't have "pirate" in it's name must be in the clear then, right, since they aren't demonstrating any intent for people to trade illicit files? know, I have some prime real estate in Florida you might be interested in...

By SiliconDoc on 4/25/2009 7:11:19 AM , Rating: 2
He made some very foolish arguments like every case is he said she said... declaring a direct opposite to common law and the magna carta, and our very justice system which declares TWO witnesses must be the accusors..., and pretends like the most recently famous clinton Lewinsky scandal, like a braindead zombie - he said she said was all there was.
No, in fact the JUST CASES have a lot more than he said she said, or they would be THROWN OUT IMMEDIATELY. (nowadays they often are not)
With people like him who get part of the concepts then exagerrate, lie, or fudge the rest, people like NIFONG are on a RAMPANT RISE in our society.
turns out the judge along with the prosecutors were corrupt in this case, it has been revealed the judge has a huge conflict of interst, which like any piece of crap he has denied after the trials conclusion.
Criminals are prosecuting nowadays, sitting on benches, and afterwards LYING THROUGH THEIR TEETH.
If there was justice, the judge would be barred, debenched, and imprisoned, the case, tossed, and a second or third or fourth run at the entity, BANNED FOREVER.
But our society and the world does not function properly on common law and common decency anymore.
It demands the right to abuse and imprison with lying criminal dogs heading up the people's side of that equation, and when they are caught red handed, it demands an endless number of do-overs, and therefore promotes it own dedcaying, corrupt body, soon to be a disgusting carcass, if things don't change.
Justice is not the powers that be breaking every rule and restraint placed upon them for the good of the people, by the people, and for the people, then telling the people to go blow, that they did nothing wrong.
This is where we are - the age of NIFONG, the FBI humping their star government witness and destroying and deleting exculpatory evidence for the defense, cops beating the suspects, tasing them to death in group sessions and lying about it, the police chiefs getting on Tv and lying to cover it up, Congress making what has long been illegal, legal for robbery and scam reasons, pumping it for decads, getting caught, and stealing trillions in the cover up and fix it up obstruction works...
Nope, as far as I'm concerned the corrupt judge in cahoots with the same organized prosecutors LIED, covered up the conflict of interest, got exposed after their pre-determined lying and coersion, AND LOST THE CHANCE FOR THE PUBLIC TO HAVE JUSTICE. END OF STORY, END OF CASE - NOW PUT THE JUDGE IN PRISON WHERE HE BELONGS.

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