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Peter Sunde, co-founder of The Pirate Bay  (Source:
Peter Sunde isn't letting international charges against him get him down

Peter Sunde (alias brokep), the co-founder of the troubled torrent giant The Pirate Bay, is a divisive figure in the tech community.  Worldwide he has been found guilty of multiple criminal charges for giving people the ability to find torrents, both illegal and legal.  While Sunde never forced anyone to choose to pirate material or post illegal torrents to TPB, his critics say he was aiding and abetting violations.  His advocates say that such charges are ludicrous and a sign of a broken copyright system worldwide.

Sunde is currently facing a one year prison sentence in his native Sweden and millions in fines for "
assisting [others in] copyright infringement".  The guilty verdict is being appealed, after it was revealed that the judge in the case was affiliated with several copyright protection organizations.

Undeterred by his sticky legal predicament, Sunde made an appearance via Skype at the South by South West Interactive conference in Austin, Texas.  Sunde could not make a personal trip to the U.S., as he currently has an arrest warrant over piracy charges in the U.S.

In the conference Sunde says that he understands that piracy is a forbidden fruit of sorts.  He states, "This idea has been discussed for hundreds of years. Not everything people do is good – people make Coca Cola and some people want it and some people don't, but we don't outlaw it."

When asked if piracy was like a cold Coke, he replies, "No, the Pirate Bay is more like sugar – it's bad for you but you can't stop using it. Bad because you get sued for it."

He also jokes about courting Google cofounder Sergey Brin to try to get him to change his policies.  He states, "I would tell [Brin] he needs to change. I would make him somehow. I can be very persuasive – I don't mean that in a bad way, I can be very funny and make him like me, and want to marry me and then I will write it in a pre-nup and then divorce him."

As to the pending three strikes proposals in the UK and other countries, Sunde comments, "Of course people have to have a system in place to be able to share and every country will have to do what they want surrounding that, as long as they don't infringe on freedom of speech and access to knowledge, which kind of sets the barrier quite high."

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RE: A correction
By walk2k on 3/15/2010 3:31:05 PM , Rating: -1
Stealing IS illegal, and he knew people used his site to steal things, and he knowingly helped them do it. Open and shut case pal, don't bend over for the soap!

RE: A correction
By mindless1 on 3/15/2010 3:49:26 PM , Rating: 4
Welcome to the internet! Once you've been here a while I recommend an online dictionary so you can become educated about the differences between your overly simplistic notion of "stealing" and that of "copyright infringement".

The two aren't exactly the same. Similarly, sugar and cocaine are kind of similar in some ways but in others not so much.

Is copyright infringement illegal? Yes, in SOME places. Do people break laws anything where it's illegal? Yes, and if I go out driving right now I'll find many people exceeding the speed limit which risks lives. Copyright infringement is not something we'd allow in a perfect world but until that perfect world is here we have far more important issues to address, it is a disservice to society that our time is spent on such things when we don't have an infinite amount of time or resources to do so.

Further, we don't really care or want to know that you think about men being anal raped but if it gets you off, you might want to find a real relationship.

RE: A correction
By whiskerwill on 3/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: A correction
By mariush on 3/15/2010 9:01:50 PM , Rating: 3
1. Afghanistan
2. Laos
3. Marshall Islands
4. San Marino
5. Sao Tome and Principles
6. Turkmenistan
7. Vanuatu

There are others with no copyright laws and there are many countries for which copyright expires after 25 years or less from the time a work was created, so while it may still be illegal to distribute in US it would be legal from that country, as long as no US user would get access to it. Or something like that.

There are also countries which received under international laws the right to infringe on US intellectual property because US illegally stopped them from doing commerce or other things.

RE: A correction
By afkrotch on 3/15/2010 9:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
Laos!!! My homeland, which I've never been to. Keep your lack of copyright laws.

RE: A correction
By whiskerwill on 3/15/10, Rating: -1
RE: A correction
By mariush on 3/16/2010 5:14:16 AM , Rating: 2
I was listing countries from a list on Wikipedia so I never claimed I was 100% correct. I obviously didn't do research for hours just to reply on a thread.

The point is the copyright rules are not uniform everywhere, some have lifetime + 75 years copyright, some have copyright just the Berne convention, some countries consider educational works (school manuals) differently (less or no copyright), some consider certain works (like snapshots of paintings) non-copyrightable and so on.

It's impossible for a website that accepts works from people around the world to know if a specific work in a specific country is still copyrighted or not. And even if it's no longer copyrighted in a country, a person in another country may commit copyright infringement by downloading it because the work is still copyrighted in his country.

These decisions should not be handled by the website but by courts who can investigate copyright claims from companies by requesting documents and proofs of copyright ownership.
The users posting the works are also responsible, not the users, just like Youtube is not responsible for users' videos or how telephone companies are not responsible if two people plan a crime using their phones.

Anyways, the fact that some have signed international treaties doesn't mean a thing, when US itself doesn't respect and doesn't want to accept international laws and rulings.

For example, US does not allow its people to gamble outside the country (by banning credit card processors from allowing transactions with gambling websites) but allows them to gamble inside the country AND allows people outside US to gamble online on US casinos.

For this reason, some islands with casinos have sued the United States in international courts and won but US igores the ruling and doesn't feel like respecting it. However, when it gets a ruling that's good for them, they immediately start to complain.

As US still doesn't allow people in US to use casinos outside the country, those islands sued again and were granted the right to infringe on US intellectual property (as a remedy) until they commit infringement in value of 15 million dollars. (or a sum close the that)

RE: A correction
By walk2k on 3/16/2010 12:57:17 PM , Rating: 2
All of this is very interesting and might actually be relevant to other web sites but in fact this is "PIRATE BAY" which knowingly facilitates illegal file sharing by their own admission.

Is ANY of this sinking in? There is massive piracy going on there, they know it, I know it, and you know it. It's wrong, and it's illegal (oh except in Samoa.. lol)

RE: A correction
By mindless1 on 3/16/2010 8:56:43 PM , Rating: 2
Hold on there cowboy. Law != morality.

If you write "it's wrong" you might as well fart in the wind if you think that is a compelling argument.

I accept some level if intelectual property protection is needed in modern society. I do not accept that the system as it stands is workable or sustainable.

You might be surprised how easily you yourself may end up running afoul of copyright laws because they have been pushed to extreme measures in some cases. If we can't fairly apply a law then that law needs to change.

See how it works? I used "fairly", another opinion that like yours is not a universally held fact.

RE: A correction
By Camikazi on 3/15/2010 3:50:35 PM , Rating: 4
It's not really stealing, stealing implies taking from the owner and them not having it anymore, this is copying, not the same thing.

RE: A correction
By whiskerwill on 3/15/10, Rating: 0
RE: A correction
By walk2k on 3/15/2010 6:06:20 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly, you're probably better off just shoplifting the DVD from a store. At least then the store is only out 1 DVD. When you download torrents it automatically shares them with the entire rest of the internet (that's how torrents work) and could potentially be costing them hundreds if not thousands of sales... A fact that is always convienently left out of the conversation by the "it's okay because I wouldn't have bought it anyway" crowd.

RE: A correction
By Solandri on 3/15/2010 6:31:57 PM , Rating: 5
Wrong. Ownership implies you control something. If someone uses what you own without your permission, they've stolen it.

Regardless of the semantics, the problem is that in their zeal to protect their control, the owners of copyright have overstepped some common sense grounds for how the ownership/licensing should work. I pay for a CD to listen to a song. It shouldn't matter what format I listen to the song in. Yet the RIAA shut down a service which let you download an MP3 of the song if you put the original CD in the computer's drive (this was back when MP3 ripping software was clumsy and unreliable). Past RIAA executives have even argued that copying a CD so you can listen to it in both your home and car, or converting it to MP3 so you can play it on your computer without having to change CDs is illegal. And the fact that I already paid to be able to listen to a song on LP, 8-track, and cassette counts for nothing. If I want it on CD, I have to pay just as much as someone who has never paid to hear the song. Or if my kid breaks the CD, suddenly their argument that "you didn't buy the song, you paid for the privilege to listen to the music" no longer applies, and they expect me to pay full retail for another CD effectively paying twice for the privilege to listen to the same music.

When you make up rules which don't make common sense, you shouldn't be surprised that people violate those rules. Just like you shouldn't be surprised that people drive 65 on a long, straight section of freeway if you set the speed limit at 35 mph. The software industry suffers the same piracy problem, but their approach makes a lot more sense. They let you make backups, they give you a discount for upgrading, and they will send you replacement media if you break a CD. I almost never see people arguing that they should be allowed to download commercial software for free, because the software industry's ownership rules make sense.

In contrast, people arguing that they should be able to download music for free are pretty widespread. Fundamentally, I disagree with them. But I can understand how they come to that conclusion - because the RIAA's ownership rules make little sense.

If you sneak into an empty hotel room and spend a few days there, you're guilty of theft of services. But you took nothing from them.

Actually, the hotel needs to pay to clean the room, so yes you took something from them. But to continue your analogy, applying the RIAA's rules to hotels would mean:

- If you want a second key for the room, one for your wallet and the other for your jacket in case you go swimming without your wallet, you have to pay for a second room.
- If you wish to upgrade from a regular room to a suite, you must pay full price for the suite. You do not get a discount, you forfeit the money you already paid for the regular room.
- If you lose your key, you have to pay for another room to get a replacement key.

If those nonsensical policies were common in hotels, it should come as no surprise that people are sharing instructions on how to copy hotel keys for free. The problem isn't the people, the problem is the stupid ideas of music ownership/licensing the RIAA is trying to force onto people.

RE: A correction
By porkpie on 3/15/2010 6:39:06 PM , Rating: 1
"I pay for a CD to listen to a song. It shouldn't matter what format I listen to the song in."


RE: A correction
By Solandri on 3/15/2010 8:24:27 PM , Rating: 2
Because music is software. In the old days, it had to be tied to hardware (LPs, tapes) because of technological limitations. But the advent of digital music has freed it from those shackles and it no longer needs to be tied to a hardware media format. Ultimately, music is software. When you're buying music, you're not buying the LP, tape, or CD. You're buying the data, or rather a limited license to be able to convert the data into audio sounds in a private setting.

Data is data. The format it's stored in is irrelevant. Even the movie studios recognize this, and is allowing people who bought the now-defunct HD-DVD format to convert to Blu-Ray for a nominal fee to cover materials, processing, and shipping.

RE: A correction
By porkpie on 3/16/2010 11:03:13 AM , Rating: 3
"You're buying the data, or rather a limited license to be able to convert the data into audio sounds in a private setting."

You're buying a limited license to use the data in the format provided. Period. And that license is priced accordingly, based on the owner's expectations of marketability into other formats and venues.

Personally, I think recording studios should modify their licenses to allow format conversion. However, claiming you have that right already is fallacious. Data IS data...but you don't buy the data. You buy a right to use it in a particular manner.

"Even the movie studios recognize this...."

They're offering you a courtesy, to replace a now-defunct format with a newer one. That's not the same thing as a god-given right to convert music into multiple formats without permission.

RE: A correction
By daInvincibleGama on 3/15/2010 8:27:39 PM , Rating: 2
Flamebait? Please be flamebait, and not really that stupid.

RE: A correction
By jonup on 3/15/2010 11:31:43 PM , Rating: 2
Because one can copyright the song not the CD.
(Yes, the CD is patented but that is irrelevant to the question)

RE: A correction
By afkrotch on 3/15/2010 9:04:24 PM , Rating: 2
If you sneak into an empty hotel room and spend a few days there, you're guilty of theft of services. But you took nothing from them.

Nope, you took nothing from them. You didn't use their electricity, water, sewage, toilet paper, shampoo, ate from the mini-bar, used the internet, and they didn't even have to send a maid to clean the room either.

RE: A correction
By whiskerwill on 3/15/2010 10:40:23 PM , Rating: 2
Even if you did none of those things and cleaned the room up yourself, you still are guilty of theft of services. And if you think you can't go to jail for that, think again.

RE: A correction
By NT78stonewobble on 3/16/2010 6:30:15 AM , Rating: 2
Well you shouldn't go to jail over that. Pure and simple.

Owner of hotel room or the copyright owner haven't lost anything unless they can without doubt prove that the guy would have bought the service/copyrighted work if the he weren't able to access it for free...

RE: A correction
By porkpie on 3/16/2010 10:06:25 AM , Rating: 3
Absolutely! And when you hotwire someone's Porsche for a joyride, you shouldn't go to jail unless they can prove you would have bought it, if you hadn't been able to drive for free.

These $#&! laws are just so damn tiresome!

RE: A correction
By Reclaimer77 on 3/16/2010 12:17:37 AM , Rating: 2
If someone uses what you own without your permission, they've stolen it.

No. They have "infringed".

Stealing copyrighted material is worse because it actually causes the owner loss.

Not a single person has been charged, or even ACCUSED of theft in the courts because of file sharing. Stop interjecting emotional arguments and lies into this debate. There is no theft here. IP infringement is NOT theft.

RE: A correction
By Alexstarfire on 3/15/2010 3:52:48 PM , Rating: 2
Piracy != stealing. Similar, but also very different.

RE: A correction
By walk2k on 3/15/2010 4:22:57 PM , Rating: 2

Taking something you don't own without paying for it = stealing.

Knowingly helping MILLIONS of people take things without paying for it = GO TO JAIL.

Call it whatever you want if that makes you feel better, appears that didn't impress the judge or jury in this case did it?

RE: A correction
By afkrotch on 3/15/2010 9:08:58 PM , Rating: 2
Man, they really should shutdown Walmart. I mean, drug deals happen on their parking lots.

RE: A correction
By walk2k on 3/15/2010 9:49:52 PM , Rating: 2
And other poor, invalid analogies.

RE: A correction
RE: A correction
By jonup on 3/15/2010 4:12:02 PM , Rating: 3
So is every ISP. They know people are using their connection to "steal" (get widely available information from the internet) things and they knowingly help them do it.
I have a better idea. How about we put every one in jail and keep only people with strong lobbies in Washington free.

RE: A correction
By porkpie on 3/15/2010 5:48:56 PM , Rating: 2
There's a clear difference. The vast majority of an ISP's customers are using their connection for legal purposes. It's the same distinction that keeps search engines like Google from falling afoul of the law.

By analogy, the owner of a pawn shop with one stolen watch inside is innocent...but a pawn shop where 50% of the merchandise is hot has the owner arrested as a fence.

RE: A correction
By afkrotch on 3/15/2010 9:12:51 PM , Rating: 2
Ebay is still up and running. They have tons of counterfeit items. God knows how much of those auctions on Ebay are fencing stolen property.

RE: A correction
By afkrotch on 3/15/2010 8:58:31 PM , Rating: 2
Bars/clubs sell drinks. Many ppl know those who drink at bars/clubs, tend to go drinking and driving. Guess we might as well shutdown bars/clubs too.

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