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Serious copyright-infringement case preceded by parties and a European bus tour

In a criminal trial so popular that reporters had to purchase seats from ticket scalpers, administrators for the infamous file-sharing portal The Pirate Bay faced their first day in a Swedish courtroom on charges of assisting others in copyright infringement.

Defendants Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundström face accusations from a wide variety of entertainment labels and copyright organizations, including Sony BMG, Warner Music Sweden, Blizzard Entertainment, Activision, and MGM Pictures – who collectively are demanding at least 120 million kronor (US $14.3 million) in compensation for The Pirate Bay’s role in allowing users to copy music, movies, TV shows, and videogames.

Prosecution is focusing specifically on a handful of titles, including Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, season 1 of the TV show Prison Break, and the computer games Call of Duty 2, Diablo 2, and F.E.A.R.

Day one of the trial saw the prosecutor painting The Pirate Bay as an ideological project, and its administrators as benevolent computer nerds whose project eventually grew to something larger than they could support – hence The Pirate Bay’s decision to display advertisements and start collecting revenue. By the time Swedish police raided the site in May 2006, prosecution claims The Pirate Bay grossed a total of US $150,000.

In accordance with The Pirate Bay’s stance that it is innocent of copyright infringement because it doesn’t actually store any of the content, all defendants plead not guilty to any criminal wrongdoing and only two of them – Neij and Svartholm – admitted any responsibility in administering parts of the site. Lundström, in particular – who faced unrelated controversies in the past – said his hosting company, Rix Telecom, only sold The Pirate Bay bandwidth and server space “at market prices.”

Stockholm University tort law professor Marten Schultz, speaking with Wired, said the figures presented against The Pirate Bay are “grossly inflated,” and the defendants claimed that what revenue they did make only partially covered The Pirate Bay’s expenses.

The Pirate Bay leadership is attempting to attract as much attention as possible in support of its case, throwing parties, press conferences – which blacklisted major media outlets because of their prior behavior – and touring the European countryside in a converted Swedish public transport bus. The focal point of its efforts is a specially-purposed website called Spectrial, which serves as an internet rallying point, events calendar, and feed portal for The Pirate Bay’s twitter and micro-blogging efforts.

Interestingly, the trial features a number of live audio feed broadcast in The Pirate Bay’s native tongue, as well as additional tech feeds in English, Swedish, and a number of other languages.

Outside the courtroom, onlookers waved black pirate flags and held street protests in support.



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What difference does it make?
By hameed on 2/17/2009 8:34:13 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
the defendants claimed that what revenue they did make only partially covered The Pirate Bay’s expenses.

I don't really get it...What difference would it make if they made a lot of money or not.
I mean if they did make any money it was from ads they didn't sell any warez and besides this isn't the point of this trial, right?




RE: What difference does it make?
By tastyratz on 2/17/2009 9:11:37 AM , Rating: 5
I think the point of the matter is profit. The prosecution is trying to link profit from ad revenue to copyright material distribution and essentially equating it to flea market vendors with burned disc's.

Everyone knows what the pirate bay is for, but unless the owners upload pirated files there is no blame to be placed. Persecuting them is no different from jailing a school principle if a student brings in a gun.

The issue of this case is not whether or not you agree or disagree with piracy, but precedence where a meeting place owner is held accountable for the actions of its members.

This could eventually link as a stepping stone to forum owners being sued for members who posted slander. The people need to be separated as their own entity.


RE: What difference does it make?
By an0dize on 2/17/2009 9:48:27 AM , Rating: 4
Right... They grossed $150,000. So sue them for 14 million? These big content suits are such a joke. I don't understand why judges continue to placate these companies.


RE: What difference does it make?
By omnicronx on 2/17/2009 9:58:53 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
Right... They grossed $150,000. So sue them for 14 million? These
Yet... the number would be in the billions if this were in the USA. I bet they are glad they are in Sweden ;)


RE: What difference does it make?
By 67STANG on 2/17/2009 11:16:49 AM , Rating: 2
Hell, in the U.S. they would be sued for 150k if they were found with a few .mp3's on their grandma's computer.


RE: What difference does it make?
By Tsuwamono on 2/17/09, Rating: -1
RE: What difference does it make?
By UNHchabo on 2/17/2009 12:07:38 PM , Rating: 3
You really think if the Canadian authorities found out, they wouldn't prosecute you?


RE: What difference does it make?
By silver99 on 2/17/2009 12:36:12 PM , Rating: 1
No - in Canada it seems they really don't care. When I was working at Wal-Mart, I had two cops come in and ask me what the best brand of CD-Rs to use to burn music. They admitted they download music.

If the cops are downloading copyright material - why would they care if the public is doing it? It's not an issue in Canada like it is in the rest of the world.


By Mr Perfect on 2/17/2009 1:40:08 PM , Rating: 4
That doesn't mean much. They'll bust you for doing 5 over the speed limit, but then blow past you on the freeway with their lights off and cell phone on.


RE: What difference does it make?
By Chaser on 2/17/2009 2:28:08 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
If the cops are downloading copyright material - why would they care if the public is doing it? It's not an issue in Canada like it is in the rest of the world.


Keep telling yourself that.


RE: What difference does it make?
By monomer on 2/17/2009 3:33:13 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, in Canada, we had a law that allowed for the copying of CD's and Videos. Basically, there was an additional tax on CDRs and blank tapes, with the proceeds distributed to various entities based on market share and radio play, I believe.

I know for a long time there was a gray area in the law as no one was really certain if downloaded MP3s were protected under this act, but I believe they passed some new copyright laws a few years ago to address this. Truth be told, I sopped following this a while ago, so I'm not really sure what the current status is.


RE: What difference does it make?
By omnicronx on 2/17/2009 3:40:12 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Actually, in Canada, we had a law that allowed for the copying of CD's and Videos. Basically, there was an additional tax on CDRs and blank tapes, with the proceeds distributed to various entities based on market share and radio play, I believe.
Haha this was a joke though, they were specifically labeled CD's i.e they were actually called MUSIC CD-R's, but you could still buy the normal CD-R's that cost half the price.
quote:
I know for a long time there was a gray area in the law as no one was really certain if downloaded MP3s were protected under this act, but I believe they passed some new copyright laws a few years ago to address this.
Its still and always has been a grey area, the problem is nobody could ever pursue it because ISPS were legally not allowed to disclose this kind information. As my other post states, right now there is no such thing as a warrant to get someones internet records, although Parliament is currently trying to pass such a law.


RE: What difference does it make?
By CZroe on 2/17/2009 8:34:56 PM , Rating: 2
NO. You are flat out WRONG. "Music CDs" carried an additional cost everywhere. In Canada, ALL blank media, from hard drives, cassettes, CD-Rs, and DVD-Rs, to SD cards and MP3 players carried a tax. Digital media was charged per MB, which quickly got out of hand with ever-increasing capacities.

I live in the US, but I know that the "iPod tax" was rescinded and Apple mailed out rebates to their customers who had been paying it for years on their gigantic HDD-based iPods.


RE: What difference does it make?
By phxfreddy on 2/17/09, Rating: -1
RE: What difference does it make?
By Hieyeck on 2/18/2009 8:31:51 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, only uploading is illegal is Canada. That's covered by "unauthorized broadcasting" in existing copyright laws. Downloading was justified as no different from recording off the radio. Even if the station was pirate radio, recording that would fall into the grey area, and our supreme court rule in downloader's favor.


By spikedbanana on 2/17/2009 11:37:31 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If the cops are downloading copyright material - why would they care if the public is doing it? It's not an issue in Canada like it is in the rest of the world.


I'm not sure which part of the country you're in but the cops will bust you if you openly sell copyright material. The night markets (or flea markets) now do not have copied material any more. Copy for personal use, everyone here does it including the cops and no one really cares.

If you think this free ride will last long, think again. Our Canadian Government has no balls and will bend over, say yes and then ask for more. I've only seen it reported once and I'm not sure if it's still in the works but the Canadian Government, US Government and the EU have teamed up to try and make it very difficult for you to have music, even legally purchased ones, on any of your devices (i.e. iPod, mp3 players, computer).

The artical goes on saying how it can be passed without any debate by by-passing the house with the executive signature of the US President. This group has no representive that support the people just goverment officials and industry execs. It also goes on saying how US, Canada, and EU border agents and police can search your iPod's music and fine/jail you for illegally downloaded music. It was to be passed by the end of 2008. I'm not sure where this is at or if it has been shot down, but when there's money involved, illegal or not they will try anything.

If anyone has any more info about this, post the link please.


RE: What difference does it make?
By omnicronx on 2/17/2009 12:43:58 PM , Rating: 3
In a word no, no they will not. So I don't know why you were rated up, because you happen to be wrong. The only cases in Canada in which someone has been charged involved the distribution of illegal files on a mass scale, specifically hosting and running a release group from their house. In fact legislation is just going through now (if it even gets passed) to allow police to view ISP logs with a warrant..(i.e there is no way of getting proof right now).

I'm pretty sure you could even go to the tallest building and screem "I HAVE 500GB OF ILLEGAL MP3's" and nobody could do anything about it. Essentially only the distribution of copyright material is illegal in Canada. I am sure there are some special cases, but we do not have the RIAA going around suing everyone, mainly because they can't.


RE: What difference does it make?
By Suntan on 2/17/2009 1:22:17 PM , Rating: 5
They would only care if a person was copying Celine Dion.

But honestly now, if you can stomach listening to Celine Dion, prison time would be a cake walk.

-Suntan


RE: What difference does it make?
By omnicronx on 2/17/2009 2:36:50 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
They would only care if a person was copying Celine Dion.
We offloaded Celine on you guys a long time ago, and besides your statement is incorrect. We only care if a person is copying Bryan Adams.. obviously..

-I'm not Funny


RE: What difference does it make?
By majorpain on 2/18/2009 7:53:30 AM , Rating: 2
LMFAO!!! Good one!!


RE: What difference does it make?
By Phlargo on 2/17/2009 12:41:05 PM , Rating: 3
You've just added a new favorite lobby to my panoply of lobbying organizations: "Big Content" Brilliant.


RE: What difference does it make?
By bongsi21 on 2/17/2009 10:50:03 AM , Rating: 2
This trial is a big impact why? Pirate bay symbolizes free trade of information on the internet. If big corporations close TPB then it'll be a crushing blow and will be seen as an example of big companies monopolizing the free virtual world again.
quote:
If the real physical world has everything worth with an equal exchange of value, what if the virtual world has the so called "Free" term then is it worth fighting for?


RE: What difference does it make?
By freeagle on 2/17/2009 11:16:44 AM , Rating: 1
But to be really honest and objective, you and the TPB admins have to admit that the primary goal of the site was not to share legal data between users around the world. You know and they knew what would the site be used for - pirating, even the name proves it. I agree that they did not directly participate in pirating, as no illegal byte was transfered through the tracker. But stating it symbolizes free trade of information other than free of cost is pure nonsense.


RE: What difference does it make?
By mikeblas on 2/17/09, Rating: -1
RE: What difference does it make?
By tastyratz on 2/17/2009 12:09:34 PM , Rating: 3
no he was right, it symbolizes the free trade of information.
The pirate bay is a non discerning location where people can share works whether they are copyrighted or not. The actions of said people are not the responsibilities of the owners... and even still they are not the police, its not their job to devote costly resources to do the copyright holders job.

The same could be said in terms of liability for dailytech.com if someone were to post a highly slanderous comment - would you hold Kristopher Kubicki responsible? No you wouldn't... the person you would sue is the person who posted the comment - so why would they have any legal ground beyond the people ACTUALLY breaking the law?


RE: What difference does it make?
By freeagle on 2/17/09, Rating: 0
RE: What difference does it make?
By DM0407 on 2/17/2009 12:40:12 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
By your logic, if your neighbor used his apartment/house to host an illegal gun trade while not participating in the actual sale, he's not breaking the law at all?


Well, the pirate bay doesn't actually store any of the illegal content, they just direct you to the correct location. For that analogy to be correct, your neighbor would have to hold a party where he could tell people who to contact to buy illegal weapons.

He is not doing anything wrong by telling you where to go, but he provides the knowledge to break the law. If someone teaches you how to kill someone does that make them guilty of murder?

Prosecuting these admins, falls within the spirit of the law, fortunately courts are supposed to follow the wording of the law.


RE: What difference does it make?
By freeagle on 2/17/2009 1:05:32 PM , Rating: 3
Hmmm, in the face of law, he's probably innocent. But I guess you would not like it much, so you'd either try to find a hole in the laws or push for such a law to be made.


RE: What difference does it make?
By Dark Legion on 2/18/2009 12:14:43 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
99.9% of the torrents on TPB are copyrighted.


82.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.


RE: What difference does it make?
By DM0407 on 2/18/2009 3:36:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
82.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.


I agree with 83.6% of that statement.


RE: What difference does it make?
By jmvaughn on 2/18/2009 8:20:36 PM , Rating: 1
You have this exactly right.


RE: What difference does it make?
By Praxix on 2/17/2009 10:55:41 AM , Rating: 4
The point of trying to show that they've made a substantial profit is all about winning hearts and minds. The defendants have a huge grassroots appeal, partly due to their Robin Hoodish image. If that image is destroyed, so is a large part of their popular support. It's already been stated that this trial will most likely be appealed all the way to the swedish equivalent of the Supreme Court, so the prosecution seems to be thinking long term.


Old world distribution model meets new reality
By grebe925 on 2/17/2009 8:46:17 AM , Rating: 4
Much like the old banking/financial system has disintegrated in the face of globalization, the internet has destroyed old information distribution systems.

The RIAA and music labels are simply railing against the machine. Even if they manage to shut Pirate Bay down, there will be a thousand that will take it's place.




By Bender 123 on 2/17/2009 8:51:23 AM , Rating: 3
Pirate Bay like sites/torrents are the future of distribution.

Shutting them down will only make them more powerful than they can possibly imagine. I dont pirate, but they are the only ones standing between people and performance art. Go Pirate Bay!


RE: Old world distribution model meets new reality
By freeagle on 2/17/2009 9:08:54 AM , Rating: 3
Maybe not just torrents, but internet distribution as a whole. People are lazy (me included) to go to a shop and buy a game/movie/music, it's much more easier to do just a few clicks on a PC and wait for the download to finish.

If the producers focused on internet distribution, they can cut the costs of creating a medium to store the content on and then distributing it, which would lead to a lower prices and most probably a few more customers. Which would probably get them those 14M $ they want from the pirate bay.


RE: Old world distribution model meets new reality
By Staples on 2/17/2009 11:04:06 AM , Rating: 2
Ever heard of iTunes or Steam?
They have been around a while.


By freeagle on 2/17/2009 11:19:03 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I have, but producers are not focusing on them...

quote:
If the producers focused on internet distribution


By Hyperion1400 on 2/17/2009 1:20:16 PM , Rating: 3
Why would I want to buy over priced CD's that I can only use on one device, only download once, and are only 1/8th the sound quality of their physical counter parts.

As far as I know, there are no services that offer full quality, DRM free, lifetime usage music. A CD is STILL a better buy.


By omnicronx on 2/17/2009 2:58:21 PM , Rating: 2
I can surely tell the difference between an mp3 and lossless audio content when using a digital connection from my PC to my receiver.. but..the DAC's on the best of MP3 players pretty much limit the value of lossless audio. So yes, perhaps the sound quality is more than noticeable when using the right equipment, but you make it out as though lossless audio with a zune/ipod with analogue output is going to sound much better than a 256k vbr MP3, when in reality the difference is so small that the extra file size is rarely worth it.

These companies are not stupid, if there was a market for lossless audio in which they could probably charge more money for them, they would probably do so.

I am not saying there is not a place for lossless audio, I have quite the collection, but I always convert to another format unless I specifically plan on attaching my player to an external stereo or receiver.

Of course this all assumes the source material you are talking about is normal CD's @ 16bit 44.1khz . I have SACD rips in which the source was 96khz/24bit that I have put on my zune in WM lossless at 48khz and it sounds a lot better, but at the same time it also supports mp3s at 48khz too.


By Scabies on 2/17/2009 11:07:17 AM , Rating: 2
psst. sony and warner sweden are the only music monkeys in this one.


Then all search engines are guilty...
By Tegrat on 2/17/2009 9:44:41 AM , Rating: 5
Why not include Google, MSN, Yahoo etc...? I can find a serial key and wares through standard search engines... If Pirate Bay is guilty... then so are the big shots!




By omnicronx on 2/17/2009 9:59:35 AM , Rating: 3
And they get a heck of a lot more add revenue in doing so ;)


RE: Then all search engines are guilty...
By reader1 on 2/17/2009 2:53:49 PM , Rating: 1
That's true. I predict search engines will start controlling their content by requiring websites to comply with rules if they want to be listed in search results. Sites transferring illegal goods will not qualify.


RE: Then all search engines are guilty...
By omnicronx on 2/17/2009 4:01:27 PM , Rating: 2
We get it.. the world is becoming a closed system.. the apocalypse is here.. Apple will dominate the world.. yada yada yada..


By TSS on 2/17/2009 9:11:16 PM , Rating: 2
http://apple20.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2009/02/17/ma...

you can be damned sure the apocalypse is comming since even apple isn't immune to this crisis.


RE: Then all search engines are guilty...
By phxfreddy on 2/17/2009 8:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
eh...I doubt it. There will be other websites that function only to refer you to the main one.


By reader1 on 2/18/2009 8:59:32 AM , Rating: 1
Any site associated with piracy will be disqualified as well.

I don't see how an uncontrolled internet can survive. Technically, it's possible, but commercially, it's a dead end.


Diablo 2, really?
By Bateluer on 2/17/2009 8:37:12 AM , Rating: 3
Do people seriously bother to pirate Diablo 2? Seriously, you can pick it up new for 10 dollars or less, used for even less.

Need to find a hat with a skull and cross bones on it. :)




RE: Diablo 2, really?
By HostileEffect on 2/17/2009 8:47:10 AM , Rating: 2
$10USD? IIRC, websites sell keys for $5USD, aka people 8-box the game for private buffs and chaos runs. :P


RE: Diablo 2, really?
By lukasbradley on 2/17/2009 8:58:56 AM , Rating: 2
I think part of the mentality is if they CAN get it for free, they feel entitled to it for free.


RE: Diablo 2, really?
By Staples on 2/17/2009 10:27:30 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, there are many people who do no matter how little the price is.


By descendency on 2/17/2009 11:04:13 AM , Rating: 5
I am not supporting piracy. I am merely saying neither side is right in this, or not as right as you might think.

For example, if you steal a DVD from Walmart, you would at worst, be banned from Walmart and likely get charged with a shoplifting misdemour. The most you would be fined (if any) would be little more than the DVD was worth and you might spend a few days in jail.

In reality, the penalty is fairly basic.

If you download a pirated movie, you can be fined 250,000 dollars, spend 6 months in jail, be a felon, AND (in extreme cases) be prosecuted as a hacker (which is a poor term.) which would also involve a 5 year technology ban (which they monitor you during... since you are a felon).

See the difference? Neither did I.




Prosecutor?
By Ryanman on 2/17/2009 8:47:43 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Day one of the trial saw the prosecutor painting The Pirate Bay as an ideological project, and its administrators as benevolent computer nerds whose project eventually grew to something larger than they could support – hence The Pirate Bay’s decision to display advertisements and start collecting revenue.


Is this a typo? Seems like a soft way for the prosecutor to paint the defendants...




gee
By LumbergTech on 2/18/2009 4:18:57 AM , Rating: 3
i downloaded diablo 2 off of pirate bay...........

but get this..

I HAVE A LEGIT KEY

morons..i know at least 5 other people who have done the same because their cds went bad..




Day 2 of the hearing is over
By Frallan on 2/17/2009 9:29:14 AM , Rating: 2
It was broken off after only half the day since the Prosecutor didn't have anything more to add. The defendents came away with the victory day 2 as well.

Prosecution has dropped the ball on several accounts allready and had to drop half the lawsuit more or less.

So far the prosecutor has identified revenues that may have been used to cover costs or may have ended up in a one of the defendents pockets. He also have identified some issues regarding the accounting of the servers where servers may have been taken out of the books. If this was a case where he went after the defendants for cooking the books I would say they'd be fried. But under Swedish legislation and with the proofs shown so far they might even get thrown out of court and the case dismissed. If not so at least i would give the defendants about 99% to get aquitted.

The Swedish MPAA and its henchmen will present their case tomorrow but in spite of having spent 3 years making the case the police is woefully technically inapt and the evidence is in question.




Wheres the gorilla?
By Scabies on 2/17/2009 10:33:21 AM , Rating: 2
The RIAA didn't get in on this? Victory for TPB!




Sad to see TPB go down
By kmmatney on 2/17/2009 3:41:27 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not a huge fan of copyright infringement, are there are times when the pirate bay has been incredibly useful to me. For instance, my work gave me (personally to keep and do whatever) an old Toshiba laptop, with a legitimate Windows XP Home Edition sticker with key. The original restore disks were long gone, but I was able to download a generic windows XP Home OEM CD from The Pirate Bay, and use my key code on the sticker and successfully activate windows with Microsoft. It was better than using a restore disk, as I don't have all the original crapware installed. Nice.




Half of the charges dropped...
By OblivionMage on 2/17/2009 5:38:21 PM , Rating: 2
after the first day ^_^

http://torrentfreak.com/50-of-charges-against-pira...

Its pretty much "EPIC FAIL" (brokep) for the prosecutors.




Glad to see these guys in court
By Staples on 2/17/09, Rating: -1
RE: Glad to see these guys in court
By mars777 on 2/17/2009 1:38:14 PM , Rating: 5
I don't :)

They are not in the US.


By majorpain on 2/18/2009 7:59:31 AM , Rating: 1
the other kid used to see dead people...


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