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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: Good for Sweden!
By PrinceGaz on 4/18/2009 7:51:04 PM , Rating: 2
I used to buy CDs at around £10 each (US$14 or so currently) before the days of file-sharing, but as far as I know, the artists would be lucky to receive even £1 of the amount I paid (the rest being spread between the record-store, recording-studio etc). They may not even have received £1 of the £10 I paid.

As such, a system where music is made available for free and people pay a fair price for what they like makes sense. Instead of buying one CD for £10, I could download ten CDs worth of tracks for free, then decide which to delete, and which I feel the band are worthy of being credited for their work. If I decide one of those group's album is worth £2, and another worth £1, and the other eight not worth paying for, overall they're still better off by receiving that money directly (minus transaction costs), than my buying one CD. Cut out the middle-men as they're no longer needed in the internat age.

The internet offers choice, and the ultimate choice in how you reward the people whose content you download. You can pay nothing if you wish (or can't), but most fans of a group will want them to produce more material and pay them more than they'd have received from a record company.


RE: Good for Sweden!
By Scott66 on 4/18/09, Rating: 0
"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA














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