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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 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.

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