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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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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'.

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