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Pirate Bay admins' lawyer demands a retrial

Last week, the trial of four admins from The Pirate Bay, the world's largest torrent site, concluded.  The result was a stunning defeat for the pirates, with a guilty verdict and a sentence of over $3M USD in damages (to be paid to Warner Bros., Sony Music Entertainment, EMI and Columbia Pictures) and a year in jail.

Now new revelations have surfaced.  It turns out the judge presiding over the trial, Judge Tomas Norstrom, was a member of two Swedish copyright protection groups.  He confirmed his affiliation this week, which first surfaced in Swedish Radio reports.

The affiliation represents a relatively clear conflict of interest, given that the prosecution lawyers consisted of three lawyers of similar affiliations.  Peter Althin, who represented Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde in the case, is demanding a retrial.  He states, "This is completely new to me. It is reasonable that we should have known about this before.  It is a clear case of bias."

After successful actions against Kazaa and Grokster, two popular P2P clients, copyright lawyers are eager to trying to take down The Pirate Bay, which boasts over 22 million users.  And it appears they had a fully loaded deck to do it with the trial of the administrators, as they had control of the Judge and the prosecution.

All four defendants will appeal the guilty verdict Friday.  It is likely that all of them will request a retrial as part of that appeal.

Judge Nordstrom, meanwhile, defends his record, claiming he was completely unbiased.  He admits he is a member of The Swedish Association for Copyright and Swedish Association for the Protection of Industrial Property.  He also admits he worked with Monica Wadsted, who represented the American movie industry in the trial, in resolving internet domain name disputes.  Despite these close ties, though he insists the trial was clean.  He states, "I don't think there are any circumstances that have made me biased in this case."

Meanwhile, Pirate Bay ringleader Peter "brokep" Sunde was quick to poke fun at the judge's affiliation, calling it "quite remarkable".  He sums up the trial, in comments to the AP, in one word -- a "farce".

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File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By reader1 on 4/24/2009 9:52:55 AM , Rating: 0
File sharing sites will eventually be filtered out of search results just as child pornography sites are filtered now. There's no way search providers can simultaneously support piracy and legitimate sales. They will have to choose one, and it's obvious which one it will be. So far, the internet is driven by technology, but soon it will be driven by money. If it doesn't, it will collapse as it did before.

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By Bateluer on 4/24/2009 9:57:44 AM , Rating: 4
Disagree, adult sites are often filtered from search results too, but you can still get to them. Banner ads, word of mouth, etc will lead people there.

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By reader1 on 4/24/09, Rating: 0
By tastyratz on 4/27/2009 2:30:24 PM , Rating: 2
you can find anything in a search engine if you look for it, they are just good at tailoring searches to the content your looking for. If they tried to start mass censorship of all content it would significantly impact their content management bottom line cost, and given the free nature of the internet someone who doesn't censor would spring up and people would flock to them. Loyalty to online services is hardly unbreakable.
Pages are up to interpretation. The word torrent in a blog, or a new linux distro torrent? maybe a legal bands mp3 posting? Algorithms improve but without a light touch you start weeding out things you just cant group without the human element.

The minute google started censoring my searches like the Chinese government is the minute I switch to a new engine. I don't think we will see anything happen to that caliber.

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By JasonMick on 4/24/2009 10:12:25 AM , Rating: 1
How exactly do you propose such a scheme? Should fan pages about movies/tvs/music not be allowed? What about news columns? Or fan videos? How can you distinguish Podcasts about a copyrighted item (a review of a cd, for example) from the item itself? There's no way a search engine company (like Google) could be expected to do that -- its way to computationally intensive, and would require a ton of investment in custom software algorithms. In short -- its just not going to happen.

Sure, there will be industry technologies like DRM and watermarking, but ultimately such technologies interfere with customers making legal backups and come off as anticustomer. Ultimately, the industry will be forced to adopt a more customer friendly mentality and drop such efforts, I believe. The entertainment industry just doesn't have the money or legal resources to convince/bribe/sue everyone in the electronics and internet industries, the government, and the general public into their way of thinking.

They may have their victories, but its a war of attrition they will ultimately lose. Whatever your opinions on the topic are, its hard to argue that. The entertainment industry just doesn't have the funds to sue 22 million people, even if they'd love to.

Like I've said again and again, they should focus on making better content. The independent movie and music industry is flourishing, and is much less antipiracy-geared.

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By derwin on 4/24/2009 10:58:53 AM , Rating: 1
I think you missed the point. As search giants become more and more tied into the profits of online sales of music, movies, etc. it becomes a bottom line sort of issue as to whether or not torrents are searchable. It is not hard to do, and it is probably legally viable. How do you do it? The same way (as the original poster said) they filter child porongraphy. "But those are all just pictures, how do you know they won't filter a picture of my mother?" Well, they don't filter pictures of your mother, do they?

The argument that the quality of music and movies warrants stealing them is baloney. Granted, and I agree with you here, music now sucks, and so does the movies that are put out. And do you know what that does warrant? Not seeing them. Not listening to them. Not putting a penny in the pockets of those who produced these attrocious affronts to what used to be known as human artistic expression. However, it does not warrant stealing them.

This asside, the poster made a great point that when money is involved, profits win, and if it ever becomes profitable to not have torrents serachable, you can bet your behind that torrents will not be searchable.

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By DM0407 on 4/24/2009 11:37:26 AM , Rating: 3
There will always be underground sites, not everyone is out for money. An ISP pressuring search engines to filter results sounds a lot like Tiered internet service. Granted it starts off with good intentions, then suddenly you can't access Google without a $100 'Gold Package'.

Secondly, I don't want to open a can of worms, but I think we need to drop the word 'stealing'. Its copying, if you steal you are physically removing property from someone else. If I stole a movie, then I have the only copy and it can not be distributed. If I copy a movie, then I am only effecting the people who see my copy....

Its like the Credit Crisis Bubble: You can not speculate how much money a product would have made had every pirated copy been paid for. The figures are severely inflated, stop acting like its lost money.

At most, maybe %10 of the pirated copies would have been bought, but who knows how many people went out and bought the product because they enjoyed what they copied (guilty of this).

To all those that are against piracy, make sure when you watch TV that you sit through all the commercials, those commercials paid for you to be able to view this copy protected show, so you best not be cheating the system!

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By ClownPuncher on 4/24/09, Rating: -1
RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By Pudro on 4/24/2009 1:52:17 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think you understand what that word means.

Oh, and by the way, the Supreme Court of the United States disagrees with you.

By Motoman on 4/24/2009 3:52:08 PM , Rating: 3
This is the same industry who had an officer of one company or another (forgive me, I don't remember which one) who said in court that if a user makes a .mp3 from a CD they legally purchased themselves, for their own use, that they just "stole" that song.

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By ClownPuncher on 4/24/2009 5:48:54 PM , Rating: 2
If taking something that is sold for money and not paying for it isn't stealing, you're right, I don't know what it means. If you're backing up software or making a backup copy of a CD or a movie, then thats not stealing. But once you start distributing it, or start downloading it from someone else, you are stealing.

By ClownPuncher on 4/24/2009 6:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
But I don't consider Pirate Bay criminal, they provide a service where other people can do illegal file sharing. Saying that is illegal is like taking Blizzard to court because people playing WoW were conspiring to commit a crime.

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By mindless1 on 4/24/2009 6:51:04 PM , Rating: 1
Ah, but it is not "taking something that is sold for money".

It is "copying something where the original is being offered for money, where the original is still available for purchase".

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By ClownPuncher on 4/24/2009 7:35:21 PM , Rating: 2
Well then I am glad, it means my 3dsmax copy won't land me jail time or fines :)

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By DM0407 on 4/24/2009 8:32:20 PM , Rating: 2

"Taking without paying"

Like when you saw that movie at your friends house. Did you pay admission that was then passed on to the creators?

You should have to pay royalties on those memories.

Lets be clear: Even the loudest supporters of TPB understand that effects of piratism (new word!). We all understand that the Creative developers deserve to be paid for their hard work. We need a fundamental change in the way software, music and movies are made.

In the mean time I will not give my money to the circle jerking execs who have inflated their companies to the point where they can not survive without inflated prices. I only have so much disposable income, I will spend it where I feel it is deserved.

By badgood on 4/30/2009 1:10:38 PM , Rating: 2
should add piratism (new word!) to wikipedia. j/k

By foolsgambit11 on 4/25/2009 7:59:56 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, it could get you a hefty fine for 'copyright infringement'. That's the crime/civil infraction you mistook for stealing. I think the value of the pirated material determines whether it's a civil or criminal violation - although it might have something to do with distribution. I'm not sure off the top of my head. But yeah, for the reason stated above, it's not theft - theft requires that you deprive the rightful owner of the use or possession of their property, rather than only depriving them of royalties resulting from that property. Perhaps it's a subtle difference, but it is important.

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By ThePooBurner on 4/28/2009 1:12:46 PM , Rating: 2
But once you start distributing it, or start downloading it from someone else , you are stealing.

The bolded part is where you are not correct. If i own a legal copy, and have rights to have a backup of said copy, where i obtain that legal backup copy is of no consequence. Someone else just provided the service of making the back up for me. If i own a CD, but i'm to lazy to rip it myself, i consider myself 100% in the clear to download as many copies of it off the net as i care to. It's not different than ripping myself and hitting copy and paste 100 times in various backup archive folders etc.. The act of downloading should not be automatically equated with stealing or illegality.

By ClownPuncher on 4/28/2009 7:59:18 PM , Rating: 2
That is assuming you own a legal copy. The point is, very few people downloading software, music, and movies own an actual copy. I would hazard a guess that the majority of torrents are of the not so legal nature.

As for copyright infringement, yes I know exactly what it is, I work in the industry.

I still equate copyright infringement to stealing, "I'm not stealing, I'm just taking something that doesn't belong to me!"

By cessation on 4/25/2009 12:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
Meh saying only 10% would've bought it is just as bad as the RIAA and others saying it would've been 100%. Funny how that goes both ways.

Jon stewart said it best the other day... Sense pirates are back now, online pirates will have to go back to their old name, THIEVES.

I don't understand why people have to make themselves feel better about doing something wrong. Pirates try to make it sound like it's not a big deal. If I do something I shouldn't at least I have the balls to admit and call it what it is. I guess whatever helps ya sleep at night.

By crimson117 on 4/24/2009 11:38:32 AM , Rating: 2
The argument that the quality of music and movies warrants stealing them is baloney.

Agreed... but Jason didn't make that argument.

He just said "they should focus on making better content".

I'd argue that it'd be more profitable to put your funds toward producing and selling movies/music than getting all hung up on small-time not-for-profit piracy.

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By rcc on 4/24/2009 2:26:04 PM , Rating: 3
Like I've said again and again, they should focus on making better content.

And what exactly is the incentive here? If you are of the opinion that people will suddenly start paying for things they've been stealing just because the quality is better you are in for a grave disappointment.

IMNSHO, of course.

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By LumbergTech on 4/24/2009 4:31:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think a better way to put it would be if the price reflects the quality of the content.

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By rcc on 4/24/2009 5:23:10 PM , Rating: 3
Same, same. People will still download/infringe/steal if they can. They want free, they have found the way to free. They are not going to stop just because the quality is better. That would take a paradigm shift in society at this point. Dumping the entitlement mentality and reasserting a set of morals. Frankly, I'm not holding my breath.

RE: File sharing sites will be filtered out.
By SiliconDoc on 4/25/2009 5:58:56 AM , Rating: 1
But the very same powers that be stole trillions with the internet in the computer connected wall street scandals that congress backed and supported for two decades, then when they wre caught, they screamed it's all coming down and used the internet and wall street and the fed (totally online connected to the markets) to steal TRILLIONS more.
Then Congress loooked at us all blank faced and claimed "we don;t know what just happened, or how this happened" - then we found out they were lying through their teeth - from Dodd to Barney to Gorelick to Geithner and all the rest of them including the appointed tax cheats.
So my friend, you may be correct about entitlement mentality - but to even propose it's jhonny 2 bucks and susie curlers on mommies computer is INSANE.
The very overlords making the laws and trying to make sure they are enforced are the biggest set of robber barrons and collusionists the entire world has ever seen, with the biggest internet superhighway connected robbery scam the world has ever known.
I cannot even begin to support this, since every single one of the master, gigantic, huge moneied, congresscritter enabled thieving beasts is more or less retained, off the handle, scott free, and just fired up ROUND 3 in the massive ripoff. Very few exceptions to that - Maddoff and very few others.
Sorry, they can all go to hell. A bullet awaits them as far as I'm concerned.
They tauight jhonny 2 bucks and susie curlers everything they need to know and then some.
Then we can talk about jhonny and susies punishment.

By rcc on 4/29/2009 11:38:39 AM , Rating: 2
Skipped the meds again did you?

I'm not even sure what you were responding to. But I'll leave you with an old classic based on your diatribe. It's not very popular anymore, but who cares anyway.

Two wrongs don't make a right. : )

By AEvangel on 4/27/2009 9:01:55 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah just like Radiohead proved right??

But Gigwise's anonymous source may not have meant that all 1.2 million people who downloaded the album in the first three days Radiohead's site paid for it. ComScore said 60 percent of downloaders didn't pay, which could bring that revenue figure down to $2.4 million.

2.4 million seems like a good deal for a band specially if you can keep the cut the execs would have gotten.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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