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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 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)

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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