UK Judge Rules Pirate Bay Guilty of Thoughtcrime; Pirate Bay Mocks Ruling
February 21, 2012 9:05 PM
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To "approve" of piracy is to lawbreak: world's top torrent site is found guilty of speechcrime
The world's top torrent site
The Pirate Bay
has long struggled with legal issues [
]. It thought it left those problems behind when it switched from physically hosting torrents to
hosting only magnet
to downloadable torrents. But an ardently pro-big media British justice has turned up the heat on the site, accusing it of thoughtcrime and speechcrime.
I. Judge Rules The Pirate Bay is Guilty of "Thoughtcrime"
The Hon. Mr. Justice Richard David Arnold
, 51, a member of the High Court of Justice Chancery Division, and long standing QC ("Queen's Counsel") ruled that the site's decision to "approve" of piracy was in and of itself illegal.
In a lawsuit brought against very British internet service providers by the nation's top music labels, Justice Arnold rules:
In my judgment, the operators of TPB do authorise its users' infringing acts of copying and communication to the public. They go far beyond merely enabling or assisting.
On any view, they "sanction, approve and countenance" the infringements of copyright committed by its users.
But in my view they also purport to grant users the right to do the acts complained of.
It is no defence that they openly defy the rights of the copyright owners.
I would add that I consider the present case to be indistinguishable from 20C Fox v Newzbin in this respect. If anything, it is a stronger case.
In the present case, the matters I have considered in relation to authorisation lead to the conclusion that
the operators of TPB induce, incite or persuade its users to commit infringements of copyright
, and that they and the users act pursuant to a common design to infringe. It is also relevant in this regard that the operators profit from their activities. Thus they are jointly liable for the infringements committed by users.
For the reasons set out above,
I conclude that both users and the operators of TPB infringe the copyrights of the Claimants
(and those they represent) in the UK.
In other words, employees of
The Pirate Bay
wrote something seemingly in favor of piracy -- or critical of "big media" -- which coupled with the facts that they post links directing users to files -- which may or may not be illegally shared -- they're automatically guilty of copyright infringement.
Essentially the ruling finds the website guilty of thoughtcrime (by the fact that the administrators do "approve" of piracy, a belief) and speechcrime (allowing/encouraging users to post written links to infringing content -- induction and incitement).
appointed in 2008
, has been a key friend of big media, moving aggressively in 2011 to force British ISPs to
, a forums site which movie and music studios claimed was promoting piracy. Like
The Pirate Bay
, Newzbin didn't contain any actual content, but merely indexed (allowed links) to a variety of content -- some of which indeed may have been infringed.
Justice Richard Arnold is a key ally of big media in British court.
[Image Source: 11 South Square]
The British Justice authored a book titled
While he has generally sided with big media in piracy cases, Justice Arnold did last year earn the appreciation of at least one major internet player when he ruled in eBay, Inc. (
) of civil liability in a counterfeiting case brought by French cosmetics manufacturer L'Oreal (
II. British Gov't Vows War on Piracy, But Allows Big Media to Pirate
The Pirate Bay
civil ruling clears the way for the music labels in the suit to force Britain's top internet service providers to block
The Pirate Bay
. For now, this will likely not effect the site's accessibility in the nation much, given that the site's compaction thanks to ditching torrents and switching to magnet links has allowed for easy mirroring by volunteers worldwide.
Ultimately, though the ruling could serve as a prelude to steep fines or even criminal penalties against citizens who host the site, and in doing so commit the same "thoughtcrime" and "speechcrime" the site was found guilty of.
Britain's top music labels are allowed to pirate independent artists' works for profit, but
The Pirate Bay
is poised to be banned for simply
filesharing. [Image Source: ByteLove]
Britain is well known for its extreme copyright enforcement. Britain's RIAA equivalent -- the
Performing Right Society
(PRS) -- threatened to sue a grocery store employee
for singing in public
, and only backed down after public outcry. The British government has attempted to push a
$1B USD equivalent
of the U.S. controversial SOPA; meanwhile British courts endorsed music labels' cash-or-we'll-sue letter writting campaing, which
sought protection fees from 30,000 UK citizens
British officials have also joined the U.S.
in pushing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
, a copyright pact, drafted in secret, that enacts new penalties for filesharing. The nation's government has also tried several times to enact a policy that would force ISPs
to terminate users who pirate after "three strikes"
The Pirate Bay
, in response to the loss in the Chancery High Court case, parroted and mocked the English Justice's ruling,
In my judgment, the courts of [United Kingdom of Censorship] do authorise its judges' acts of corruption and being technically uneducated. They go far beyond merely enabling and assisting.
I conclude that both judges' and the politicians of [United Kingdom of Censorship] infringe the rights of the people... in the world.
Ironically, there is some validity to those accusations.
Britain is among the nations whose laws allow big media to "claim" the works of independent artists,
pirating them for-profit, without fear of legal recourse
. Independent musicians must plead with the member corporations for their cut, a process that can often take years. The scheme
pulls in hundreds of millions globally
for big media corporations in the U.S., Britain, Canada, and elsewhere.
Aside from killing public piracy while preserving loopholes for their own seizure of copyrighted content, big media's other major objective is to
ban backup copies
. That would allow them to execute their ultimate goal of expanding users "choices", by forcing them to repurchase content they already own. Top media corporations contend that making backups of CDs or DVDs you legally own is
akin to "stealing" a copy via piracy or petty theft
High Court of Justice Chancery Division
The Pirate Bay
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
2/22/2012 10:51:58 AM
...that, like the US, apparently their legal system is also utterly corrupt and needs to be completely disbanded and rebuilt from scratch.
While it's eminently clear that PB has always thumbed their noses at the MAFIAA et al, it's also mind-bendingly obvious that they're not the ones committing any crimes. To wit:
Say you own a nice chunk of land. You put up some gazebos, picnic tables, swingsets, etc. and make it available to the public as a park, free for all to use.
Some people come there with their kids to just enjoy a nice summer day...have a lunch, play frisbee, etc. Good times.
Other people hang out there to sell weed...maybe a little crack. Pimp their sister once in a while. Stuff that's clearly illegal.
Who is at fault for the crimes committed? According to this judge...the landowner. Which is abysmally stupid...the landowner isn't the one committing any crimes...the criminals are the ones selling drugs and pimping hos. EVEN IF the landowner publicly makes fun of the laws that outlaw the sale of drugs and prostitution. He's not the one doing it.
Arrest and prosecute the criminals, not the landowner. Oh, it's *hard* to actually track down the criminals is it? Easier just to file charges against the landowner and make it look like you're "tough on crime?"
Too bad. That doesn't make you "tough on crime." That makes you an ineffectual arm of justice by letting the criminals off the hook and punishing others for their crimes.
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