The Pirate Bay spokesman Peter Sunde wrapped up the first week of his famous civil/criminal trial with a bombshell. An internal survey, he says, revealed that 80% of 1000 torrents observed are, in fact, legal.
Sunde shares the criminal charges of assisting others in copyright infringement with fellow Pirate Bay figures Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, and Carl Lundström.
Pressed by prosecutor Hakan Roswall and lawyers from the media industry, Sunde explained that while he was aware that the site does indeed host links to copyright material, The Pirate Bay was built as a tool for its users to post content – some of which might be legal, some not. Therefore, if copyright owners want to take down content, they should approach the individual that uploaded the torrent in question, rather than The Pirate Bay.
In fact, said Sunde, his survey reveals that there is a larger proportion of copyright-infringing material on YouTube.
While Sunde’s exact methodology for the survey is unclear, he testified that he gathered the 1,000 torrents at random and, with the help of some users in a chat room, examined their legality without downloading them.
TorrentFreak notes the trial also featured a clumsy attempt by Roswall to display geek prowess:
“When did you meet [Gottfrid] for the first time IRL?” asked the Prosecutor. “We do not use the expression IRL,” said Peter, “We use AFK.”
“IRL?” questioned the judge. “In Real Life,” the Prosecutor [explained].
“We do not use that expression,” Peter noted. “Everything is in real life. We use AFK - Away From Keyboard.”
“Well,” said Roswall. “It seems I am a little bit out of date.”
Spectators noted that the trial seems to be taking a disturbingly political tone – at one point, after being asked questions on his opinion of copyright law, issues, and previous remarks on his blog, Sunde shot back with questions of his own:
“That is a political issue,” he said. “Is this a political trial or a legal trial?”
IFPI lawyer Peter Danowsky continued with his question, but Sunde cut him off.
“I want an answer from the lawyer Danowsky. Is this a political trial? Can I get a reply?”
Over the past few days, prosecutors have struggled to understand The Pirate Bay’s “anarchistic” organizational structure. In Thursday’s trial, prosecutors pressed Neij for details, essentially fishing for any hints that The Pirate Bay staff ran under a traditional hierarchy – to which Neij replied that nearly every aspect of the site was run in a haphazard fashion.
“Someone must ultimately decide whether to put up a certain text or graphic,” asked Roswall.
“No,” Neij replied. “Why? If someone believes a new text is needed, he just inputs it. Or if a graphic is ugly, someone makes a better one. The one who wants to do something just does it.”
Neijs’ responses followed a general pattern that is proving to be consistent throughout the entire trial: when presented with damning evidence, the defendants simply defer responsibility to someone not directly involved in the proceeding – a fiery speech that Niej read outside Swedish parliament days after the site’s May 2006 brush with the law, for example, was claimed to be penned by Pirate Bureau ideologue Tobias Andersson, and read at the Bureau’s request.
Friday evening the defendants threw a 200-person party broadcasted live on The Pirate Bay’s Spectrial website, the tickets of which quickly sold out. Trial is set to resume Tuesday, and will feature testimony from a number of figures from the entertainment and content industry.
quote: Any conviction of any computing service/product in this light, as being held responsible for the illegal actions of the people who use it, would set a precedent that would signal the end of the information age. Because the very first time a court rules that any product/service can be held accountable for what users do with it, you can then use that ruling to outlaw *every* computing technology across the board, because there is not a single piece of computing technology, whether product or service, that can't be used for ill of some kind. For that reason, not only does your arguement fail, but all arguements against computing products/services fail, and must fail, because if they were ever to be held up in a court of law and used to prosecute against a product/service, then the era of computing is over.
quote: Coca-Cola still bears the name it originally had, when it included actual cocaine. Shouldn't they change that name, since cocaine is now illegal, and by virtue of the fact that they have "coca" in their name they are encouraging people to smoke crack?
quote: How about when Chevy had a car called the "Beretta" - were they encouraging people to use sidearms to commit murder?
quote: On the topic of pirates, how about the Olds Cutlass? As you know, pirates prefer the cutlass as their weapon of choice
quote: ...does Firefox entice our youth to set small canids aflame? Does CarSoup make it's users want to gnaw on a tire? Does Hotwire prompt impressionable youths to steal cars?
quote: What horrible analogies, all of them. First of all, keyboards are not designed to be used as weapons. The Pirate Bay is designed for one thing only, to PIRATE things. Hello, it isn't called the "Shareware Bay". Stop comparing them to Google too people.
quote: Lets take the gun argument a little further, why are (and i take US law as a example) full automatic guns illegal
quote: The argument is still the same, guns don't kill people, but these guns are not made for sport/hunting but to kill people, not all people how buy a gun like that do, but the one's that wane kill do use them more.
quote: It's desperation. When the PIRATE bay says that the majority of their torrents are LEGAL, they know that they are going to be charged with a monetary fine and/or shut down.
quote: While Sunde’s exact methodology for the survey is unclear, he testified that he gathered the 1,000 torrents at random and, with the help of some users in a chat room, examined their legality without downloading them.
quote: Great defense. But your honor, there were 100 people in the bank and I only robbed 20 of them!
quote: . I'd feel sorry for them if they weren't so defiant about breaking the law .
quote: It's my understanding that in Sweden there IS no law they have broken. This is a political show trial, nothing more.Even this Sunde guy sees right through it and had the balls to bring it up point blank.
quote: Its pretty clear that free filesharing hurts media producing companies.
quote: I went to the louvre, and took a high quality digital image of the Mona Lisa (as has been done millions of times by tourists). According to laws these days, we have all infringed on the artists right by reproducing the picture.
quote: Their site links to copyrighted material, they know it, they're proud of it, and how they have any defense is quite amazing. If they manage to get the charges dropped then I think that's more of a damning indictment of the prosecution's abilities than of defendant's innocence.
quote: The comparisons between Google and The Pirate Bay is again nonsense.
quote: It's a hell of a lot better comparison than the idiots on here comparing the Pirate Bay to rape, robbery, shootings, high sees hijacking and sexual assault.
quote: I assume you are talking to me,
quote: BUT.. there is no doubt in my mind that sites like TPB cause millions upon millions of dollars in REAL damages a.k.a I would have bought the product had I not been able to download it for free.
quote: If we are sending our CEO's to jail for fraud for a few million, why on earth should TPB be allowed to do so freely?
quote: If you think this should fly, maybe I should become a drug dealer, and put all the money I make back into the business, because that's not illegal right?
quote: It sounds like the issue here is with the BIT TORRENT technology, not those who implement it. Why aren't we taking the guy who invented Bit Torrent to court ?
quote: The four, who could end up in jail, are charged with facilitating and aiding copyright infringement.
quote: “Well,” said Roswall. “It seems I am a little bit out of date.”
quote: The ENTIRE legal system is out of date when it comes to digital media and file sharing.
quote: Not to mention these Pirate bay folks make HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS on ad revenue running their site.
quote: Furthermore this should be calculated based on ratios depending on how many people are seeding and downloading certain torrents.
quote: As for Google, it is a search engine, that indiscriminately caches everything, they do not specifically look for pirated material like TDB does.
quote: Can you name something that TPB sought out, or are you just presuming they are the ones making all these torrents?
quote: TPB indiscriminately lists torrents, which in and of themselves are COMPLETELY legal.
quote: Wrong! Its no more legal than me posting child porn on a completely legitimate site.
quote: You guys are kidding yourselves. What Pirate Bay does is illegal!
quote: If they do get off the hook, its not because they did nothing wrong, its because the prosecution is going to have a hard time separating the blame as there was nobody really in charge (which is ingenious if you think about it).
quote: Just imagine if we had a 'The Diddler Bay', or 'The Rape Bay', in which they hosted links to other sites relating to the name of the site. These people would be thrown in jail without remource pretty much anywhere. The excuse of, well we hosted nothing would not stand, why should it in this case?
quote: It is also clear to me, at least, that billion dollar special interest groups like the RIAA has poisoned the legal process. Justice shouldn't be something that can be bought or traded or lobbied for.
quote: It's not enough to "know" if someone is guilty or innocent. If you KNOW they are, then you shouldn't have that much trouble proving it should you ? Beyond the shadow of a doubt I might add. We're talking about someones life here after all.
quote: Is that really the same ? I grow tired of bad biased file sharing analogies. Especially ones involving assault, felonies, or murder. Or in this case, rape. Come off it already. We're talking about copies of music and DVD's, ripped by god knows who, and shared by god knows how many. NOBODY is being assaulted, stolen from, or being raped.
quote: by cessation on February 22, 2009 at 7:29 PM Just because google links to websites full of pirated/illegal stuff doesn't make it ok. It just means they got the money and lawyers to back them up. That's why they get away with it.
quote: In Sweden the defence gets lawyers paid by the state, it kinda helps to maintain a state of law so people can't just be run over by money.
quote: Not to mention it's a clear conflict of interest. How hard, exactly, are you going to work to help your client BEAT the people who sign your paychecks ?
quote: Um what? They are PIRATE Bay. You DO know what PIRATE means right? No it doesn't mean they sail around the ocean looking for buried treasure.
quote: If they get off on a technicality it will only save them long enough for the law books to be re-written. They may not techincally HOST illegal files themselves but they CLEARLY host .torrents TO illegal files, do not remove torrents that they they KNOW are illegal, and very very clearly ENCOURAGE people to post illegal torrents.Hello, they aren't called "Shareware Bay".Only delusional idiots or pirates themselves would even attempt to defend these criminals. So which are you?
quote: Look it's real simple. Ask yourself, why aren't these people in the US? Because it's illegal in the US, that's why. Eventually the law in Sweden will catch up to the rest of the modern world and they'll be forced to hole up in some other backassward country.