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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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By Finnkc on 4/24/2009 10:24:44 AM , Rating: 5
People can use a PVR to record TV shows and movies, but as soon as someone puts a TV show or a movie on the internet for people to see it's illegal? I can understand some of the fine print involved and yea it is not black and white like I just laid it out to be but ultimately it sort of is.

RE: retarded.
By omnicronx on 4/24/09, Rating: -1
RE: retarded.
By Alexstarfire on 4/24/2009 11:28:30 AM , Rating: 2
And people have internet connections to download this stuff but not TV service? I find that hard to believe.

RE: retarded.
By DM0407 on 4/24/2009 11:40:34 AM , Rating: 5
A PVR is a way for the Cable company to charge you 9.99 a month to do the same thing you can do on your computer for free, but it's legal.

Do you think that 9.99 goes straight to the program producers or into the pockets of TWC and Comcast?

RE: retarded.
By callmeroy on 4/24/2009 12:04:26 PM , Rating: 2
I wish it was only 9.99, comcast (at least in my area) charges $15.99 a month for an HD DVR service...

BTW WTF is a PVR.....does the P stand for "Pay"?

RE: retarded.
By HolgerDK on 4/24/2009 1:06:49 PM , Rating: 3
Personal Video Recorder.

RE: retarded.
By aharris on 4/24/2009 1:53:31 PM , Rating: 4
Last I checked it was a DVR.

Never heard of a PVR.

Acronyms in IT are bad enough as is, let's not convolute it any more than necessary.

RE: retarded.
By mikeyD95125 on 4/24/2009 8:08:50 PM , Rating: 2
It is the same thing, just a different acronym. I guess personal is more correct because you obviously shouldn't be showing the recorded content to anyone else. As that would constitute a public performance. :p

RE: retarded.
By BailoutBenny on 4/27/2009 7:06:21 PM , Rating: 2
The official acronym is PVR. It is what is used in most specifications used for set tops. Check the GEM/DVB/MHP/OCAP specifications for verification.

RE: retarded.
By Noya on 4/24/2009 1:55:37 PM , Rating: 2
charges $15.99 a month for an HD DVR

Same here, on top of my already decent ($$) cable package, and the HD DVR is slow as hell. Oh, it also only outputs 1080i forcing my HDTV to do the deinterlacing. Or the extra $7-8 for a few more highly compressed HD channels.

RE: retarded.
By BailoutBenny on 4/27/2009 7:08:56 PM , Rating: 2
Comcast is charging for 2 services. One is the PVR aspect. The other is HD. Both on their own are about $10, so it seems they are offering a "package deal" when purchased together.

RE: retarded.
By feraltoad on 4/26/2009 12:16:20 AM , Rating: 3
A PVR's primary function is recording porno.

RE: retarded.
By elgoliath on 4/28/2009 3:10:06 PM , Rating: 3
Pornographic Video Recorder

RE: retarded.
By omnicronx on 4/24/09, Rating: 0
RE: retarded.
By Hyperion1400 on 4/24/2009 7:46:13 PM , Rating: 5
Fair Use no longer exists! The DMCA struck that down over a decade ago.

RE: retarded.
By BZDTemp on 4/25/2009 5:46:31 PM , Rating: 5
Why is that hard to believe?

For example I have about 40 channels to choose from but that still does not mean everything I am interest in is available.

For example lots US and Australian motor sport is covered badly if at all in European media. So without the internet I for example would not get to see Indy or ALMS. Except perhaps in short news segment simply showing who won and who crashed the biggest.

Also the internet lets me get at old stuff. Say you stumble upon an episode of a TV series you do not know then it is really nice to find previously aired episodes. Oh and places like Hulu? is not accessible outside the US just like a lot of other on-line stuff is not (Free or not).

In essence. I do not mind paying for stuff and I have the Blu ray/DVD/CD/LP/game collection to prove it but some things are just not available to be bought. Partly due to national boundaries and partly because the market may be to small.

RE: retarded.
By Devo2007 on 4/24/2009 3:15:49 PM , Rating: 4
What about OTA reception, combined with an HTPC that has DVR software? Aside from the hardware, you aren't paying for the signal.

RE: retarded.
By imperator3733 on 4/25/2009 3:29:16 PM , Rating: 4
Pay for TV? Over the air signals are free, and that's the only type of broadcast (i.e. not Internet) TV that I would ever consider using.

I do agree though that any recording or copy made for personal use should always be legal. Making copies of content available online is a bit of a gray area. If it was originally available for free I don't think it should be a big deal, but if you're supposed to pay for it in the first place that's illegal. This is just another reason all the networks should be putting all their TV shows online -- if it's available for free legally, who would bother downloading it illegally?

RE: retarded.
By foolsgambit11 on 4/25/2009 7:40:04 PM , Rating: 3
Just because it is available for free doesn't mean distribution is legal. For instance, I could record every episode of, say, 30 Rock, but making it available online would 'damage' DVD sales. Or maybe I'm not understanding your point clearly with online/OTA broadcasting?

Maybe you feel the law should be different, but I think offering a program OTA shouldn't mean you forfeit your copyrights. And if things worked that way, it would mean the end of scripted programming on OTA networks. So I'll cope with the way things are.

Now when it comes to copyright lengths, I think things are way out of hand. And the EU just approved longer protections for artists, bringing them in line with US limits. Boo!!!

RE: retarded.
By Alexstarfire on 4/26/2009 2:56:53 AM , Rating: 1
So if you acquire something for free then it's illegal to distribute it? If that is certainly the law then that needs to be changed ASAP, cause that just makes no sense. They obviously aren't making money off of it if they are literally giving it away for free. And as already pointed out it's not stealing since you are not depriving anyone of anything. I fail to see how it breaks any laws.

RE: retarded.
By Lerianis on 4/27/2009 12:58:44 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter if it 'damages' DVD sales: it is still BLATENTLY FAIR USE when something is available for free in the same or near same form as on the DVD.

That is the reason I have NO problems with people torrenting TV shows, music, etc.: most of this stuff is already available for free in some form.
Just because the ripped CD is 'higher quality' doesn't make it 'wrong' to torrent the stuff.

RE: retarded.
By foolsgambit11 on 4/27/2009 8:32:52 PM , Rating: 3
How is this confusing? It's put out during every major sporting event broadcast. A free distribution doesn't make MLB forfeit the right to their content. Just because a song is on the radio doesn't mean you can freely distribute copies of the single.

RE: retarded.
By mmntech on 4/24/2009 11:46:23 AM , Rating: 5
In Canada, it is technically illegal to record using a DVR. Canadian Minister of Heritage James Moore got into a bit of controversy a couple weeks ago while discussing Canada's role in new media. He admitted he likes to record TV shows on his DVR and puts them on his iPod, not realizing there was anything wrong with it. The hardware to record shows, just like console emulators, is legal but the act of recording isn't, regardless of whether it's for time shifting or not. It's one of the many parts of copyright law that's there but just isn't enforced.

What media cartels are doing is pushing for the strict enforcement of existing laws as well as their expansion. The Moore example exposes the huge problem with copyright law; in that everyone is technically a criminal without even knowing it. Forget about file sharers for a minute. How many ordinary people are clear about what they can and can't do with their media they legally purchased? Vary few I guarantee. Even I didn't know about the DVR thing until recently and I follow tech. Media groups have a right to protect their IP but I feel they've gone way to far in doing so. They broke the barrier of excess 11 years ago when the American DMCA was signed into law.

On Pirate Bay, I certainly think the case should be thrown out. If the judge belongs to the same industry organization as the plaintiffs, he has a clear steak in the trial's outcome. There is no way you could argue that there was no conflict of interest. I also believe that the case was not proven beyond reasonable doubt and the prosecution totally bungled it. I don't condone Pirate Bay's activities but they did receive an unfair trial. I'm not sure what legal system Sweden uses but there is no way you'd be able to get away with that here without at minimum a retrial.

RE: retarded.
By ggordonliddy on 4/24/2009 12:24:58 PM , Rating: 1
he has a clear steak


RE: retarded.
By ClownPuncher on 4/24/2009 12:40:13 PM , Rating: 2
Clean underwear.

RE: retarded.
By ClownPuncher on 4/24/2009 1:01:49 PM , Rating: 2
Oops, I read that as "clear streak".

RE: retarded.
By Whaaambulance on 4/24/2009 12:42:22 PM , Rating: 1
Mmmmmm steak.

Someone pass the A-1 please.

RE: retarded.
By rcc on 4/24/2009 2:22:34 PM , Rating: 1
Dude, you need to buy better quality steak....... : )

RE: retarded.
By Hyperion1400 on 4/24/2009 7:49:57 PM , Rating: 2
Screw the steak; I drink A-1 straight out of the bottle!

RE: retarded.
By surt on 4/24/2009 1:24:50 PM , Rating: 2
He has a steak, made out of the same stuff they put into crystal pepsi. How hard is this to understand?

RE: retarded.
By geddarkstorm on 4/24/2009 3:53:44 PM , Rating: 5
Transparent Bovines. One of the great marvels of the genomic age. Each invisible mouthful explodes with mouth watering, intangible taste. Now, I must be off for a tea party.

RE: retarded.
By Piyono on 4/25/2009 3:26:34 PM , Rating: 2
he has a clear steak

I'm almost positive you mean 'stake'.

RE: retarded.
By plonk420 on 4/25/2009 2:04:31 PM , Rating: 2
sony vs universal studios establishes that you can record to betamax (as well as use other recording media) TV shows for your own consumption. you may not, however, share it with friends. i don't remember if that includes showing it to friends within your own house, but lending it to a friend is not allowed.

there was another case where format/timeshifting was established legal, but i don't remember what that was (possibly something that protected slingbox's ass).

RE: retarded.
By xmichaelx on 4/27/2009 3:58:55 PM , Rating: 2
Better comparison:
Legal: Go to library. Borrow DVD and watch it for free. Return movie.
Illegal: Go to PirateBay. Download movie and watch it for free. Delete movie.

From the consumer's perspective, the end result it the same: Watching the movie for free. The war has already been lost. Someone just needs to clue in the **AA.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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