Pirates Captured!

The verdict's in for the four Swedes behind the BitTorrent site The Pirate Bay. Guilty.

In Sweden today, the court ruled the website's three founders and their backer were responsible for "assisting making available copyrighted content" and the scallywags were ordered to pay about $3.6 million to several entertainment companies as well as serve a year in prison.  

According to the Guardian:

[Prosecutors] were forced to drop the charge of "assisting copyright infringement" and focus on the lesser charge of "assisting making available copyrighted content". They had been seeking [$13.5 million] in compensation for loss of earnings due to the millions of illegal downloads facilitated by the site.

The case was (is?) a high-profile one, with both sides stressing the verdict's importance:

The chairman of the Swedish Independent Music Producers Association, Jonas Sjöström, said as the trial concluded that the consortium is "tired and sick of services like The Pirate Bay who have no understanding or respect for the creative community, and instead have their own financial interests at heart."

So it's all over, right? The only thing left is to close those laptops, disconnect the Internet and walk to the nearest record store for any musical needs. Haha...sure.

The Pirates have refused to go gentle into that good night. They are rage-raging, having promised to keep site open as they make appeals both in and out of court:

So, the dice courts judgement is here. It was lol to read and hear, crazy verdict.

But as in all good movies, the heroes lose in the beginning but have an epic victory in the end anyhow. That's the only thing hollywood ever taught us.

Yesterday, Wired said the verdict would be a win-win for The Pirate Bay. A verdict in their favor would have made file sharing essentially legal. The loss, however, turns them into stubborn martyrs, a role they are really playing up.

The verdict is also a lose-lose for entertainment companies. If they managed to somehow close down The Pirate Bay, Internet users would (and are) finding new ways, like streaming or other BitTorrent services, to avoid getting caught for copyright infringement. And, as Wired notes, any press is good press, at least for The Pirate Bay:  

For now, the attention brought by the highly-publicized trial has only made The Pirate Bay more popular. The site has swelled to some 22 million users. And thousands of Pirate Bay fans have flocked to sign up for its new $6 anonymization VPN service, which allows torrent feeders and seeders to conduct their business in private without leaving a trace of their Internet IP addresses.

And since the trial began, membership in Sweden's copyright reform Pirate Party has grown 50 percent, while its youth affiliate is now the second largest in Sweden.

If the staunch, antiquated fighting of record companies and the rebellious antics of The Pirate Bay continue for some time, it may not be necessary to download any files. It may be that the virtual high seas battles are entertainment enough.

Friend-o-Reason Cory Doctorow, over at Boing Boing, has got the 4-1-1 on the pirate trial. Stephen J. Dubner at the Freakonomics blog wonders if it's time to stop using the term "Digital Piracy." Reason coverage of The Pirate Bay near, dear and here. In 2003, Reason.tv Editor Nick Gillespie said stopping downloads won't help entertainment companies.

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  • ||

    Youth piracy is what gives me hope for our future.

  • Fitzroy||

    The verdict is pretty much useless. Even beforehand it was obvious that regardless of the outcome it would be appealed, it will probably go all the way to the Supreme Court in the end. It will be years before this matter is settled legally.

  • ||

    Thank God we're back to calling out the real pirates, not those hosers in boats. Metallica isn't even against raiding the shipping lanes. How is that piracy?

  • The Chad||

    don't say "4-1-1" please.

  • ||

    It is interesting how the IP companies think that winning this battle means anything to them. They are apparently under the silly impression that today's state of technology is the endpoint. As the article notes, there are already services that make doing internet stuff anonymous. If the IP folks can convince the ISPs to police infringement and anonymous use (not to mention any and all large downloads), won't some 16 year old hacker just come up with a work around?

    I know way too many IP lawyers who are vested in the old way of doing things. Unfortunately, I don't see it changing anytime soon.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Anyone know where I can download an illegal copy of the decision?

  • ||

    I have also met IP lwayers who are so invested in the stupidity of what they do. It will be fun if we get to watch them fail.

    Unfortunately the big-government fanboys ses this issue as one they can take advantage of to get corporate support to set up a police state. It is also one of the "international problems" they love to promote that needs a "international solution".

    The Final International solution being something like what HG Wells wrote about. HG Wells online book

  • N||

    Well, D.A. Ridgely, here for instance.

    http://thepiratebay.org/torrent/4853536/Tingsrattdomen_mot_Pirate_Bay

    In Swedish

  • ||

    Once again, the world is safe for ABBA.

  • ||

    By the way, that's a year in a Swedish prison.

  • ed||

    The only thing left is to close those laptops, disconnect the Internet
    and walk to the nearest record store for any musical needs


    Heaven forbid you should have to actually pay for your music, Jeff. I feel your pain.
    Free minds and free downloads? It's sad that libertarian ethics has come to this.

  • ||

    Yeah, ed, you tell 'em. Value is so 5 minutes ago.

  • hmm||

    From a business stand point litigation would be the last thing I'd do. It's like squashing cockroaches. You kill one and there are thousands more waiting to take its place.

  • AAA||

    "You kill one and there are thousands more waiting to take its place."

    sounds like the kind of scam that can keep us lawyers employed for a looong time...

  • hmm||

    As long as the antiquated business model used by entertainment continues to fund it.

    Someone will make a fortune by changing the model and redefining the industry to meet the needs of the people.

  • High Every Body||

    So it is wrong to show insects to terrorists, but it is just fine to steal music? Am I getting the Reson editorial perspective right on these issues?

  • ||

    By the way, that's a year in a Swedish prison.



    The difference being what? You'll be Sven's bitch instead of Tyrone's?

  • ||

    I find it interesting that Google is a major host of "music pirates," yet the RIAA hasn't gone after them. Do they think Google is too big to sue, or have they some how missed all the music blogs on blogspot.com? (Individual blogs do periodically have posts deleted and some get shut down, but it's a tiny fraction of the action.)

    I've been checking them out for a few years now. Yes, there's a lot of copyright infringement there that there's really no excuse for (buying a current CD and uploading it), but that's not the interesting stuff. What I appreciate are the people who post obscure music: tracks long out-of-print, scarce DJ remixes, rare albums that go for hundreds of dollars when they appear on eBay, music that has never been on CD or iTunes. Yes, technically it's still the same IP crime, but it's hard to argue that the copyright owners are losing out when there is no legal way to purchase their IP.

  • Sister Mary Joel the Grammar N||

    "If they managed to somehow close down The Pirate Bay, Internet users would (and are) finding new ways..." should read "If they managed to somehow close down The Pirate Bay, Internet users would find (and are finding) new ways..."

    If we're going to advocate stealing other people's property, we should at least have the decency to use proper grammar in the process.

  • Brett Stevens||

    Good luck stopping the Darknets, you silly entertainment lawyers.

    Cory Doctorow is a bloviating leftist without a functioning brain.

  • ||

    It's pretty gutsy to call people out on grammar when you use the words "steal" "piracy" and "theft" to refer to an act that isn't any of those things. Are you being technical, in which case you should use the correct words, or do you want leeway with your exaggerations and hyperbole, but want to hold other people to the strict constructs of English class?

  • grizzly||

    I really cannot understand how it can be all right to take something that does not belong to you without paying. It is completely irrelevant whether the entertainment industry has a good business model or not. Using a product of someone's labor without paying is unethical to put it mildly.

  • High Every Body||

    I really cannot understand how it can be all right to take something that does not belong to you without paying. It is completely irrelevant whether the entertainment industry has a good business model or not. Using a product of someone's labor without paying is unethical to put it mildly.

    Exactly.

  • ed||

    Using a product of someone's labor without paying is unethical to put it mildly

    Welcome to the new libertarian ethics, grizzly, wherein the actual creators of artistic works are somehow irrelevant to the discussion.

  • ||

    "wherein the actual creators of artistic works are somehow irrelevant to the discussion."

    Yeah, 'cuz the RIAA and MPAA are "actual creators of artistic works".

  • Jordan||

    Yeah, 'cuz the RIAA and MPAA are "actual creators of artistic works".



    Well, they typically own them under contracts agreed to by the actual creators.

  • ||

    "Well, they typically own them under contracts agreed to by the actual creators."

    Thank you for that invaluable knowledge. Until now, I thought a stork brought my little brother.

  • grizzly||

    Plenty of artists especially successful artists do not want the product of their labor to be stolen through file sharing. Should we pretend that they don't exist? It is so easy to demonize RIAA and MPAA but Metalica doesn't want their songs to be stolen. What's your response? We don't like rich musicians?

  • ||

    My response is that a lot of musicians want their music freely distributed, me included, and object to large corporations shutting down such services because they are big giant pussies who don't want to sue the actual people breaking the law.

  • Jordan||

    Thank you for that invaluable knowledge. Until now, I thought a stork brought my little brother.



    Hey, if you want to play dumb, don't be upset when somebody decides to play along.

  • ||

    "Hey, if you want to play dumb, don't be upset when somebody decides to play along."

    Play dumb? How so? By pointing out that the RIAA and MPAA only represent the artists they have control over and that it is disingenuous to suggest that the RIAA and MPAA control the majority of creators of artistic content? Yeah, talk about playing dumb, sounds like its time for you to do out to your dumbness sandbox.

  • ||

    Raise your hand if you've ever made a spelling error while insulting somebody!

  • ed||

    Lamar plays sophist word games. Theft is theft, regardless of which particular individual or entity owns the rights to an artistic work. By the way, there are plenty of independent artists who own the rights to their works, who have no relationship with the various associations that are reviled by anarchists posing as libertarians.

    "a lot of musicians want their music freely distributed, me included, and object to large corporations shutting down such services"

    Boo hoo, Lamar. Is the big bad recording industry "shutting down" your favorite "services" and preventing your music from being heard? If you can't find a way to give away your music legally, you're not trying very hard. And you don't speak for any of the artists who choose not to give away their works.

  • ||

    "Should we pretend that they don't exist? It is so easy to demonize RIAA and MPAA but Metalica doesn't want their songs to be stolen."

    I'm a lawyer, and I don't want my legal arguments stolen. But there they are, time and time again, being used by people who didn't formulate them. Is there some reason that songs about playing grabass get higher protection than technical and legal expressions? I know of a couple lawyers who have used a stupid little phrase I used in front of a jury a couple years ago. Worked great. Should they pay me royalties?

  • grizzly||

    My response is that a lot of musicians want their music freely distributed, me included, and object to large corporations shutting down such services because they are big giant pussies who don't want to sue the actual people breaking the law.

    I actually have nothing to disagree with your response.

  • Jordan||

    Play dumb? How so? By pointing out that the RIAA and MPAA only represent the artists they have control over and that it is disingenuous to suggest that the RIAA and MPAA control the majority of creators of artistic content?



    Who said anything about them controlling the majority? Not me and not you, until you got called on your stupid comment. Whether they own the majority or not is irrelevant. Feel free to shift the goalposts again.

  • ||

    Thank you, ed. Jordan is clearly not up to the task. You're totally wrong, but at least you get it.

    There has been enough sparring over copyright people's hyperbolic use of such inapplicable terms as "theft" and "piracy". Funny how the real pirates are taking that word back! Let's assume for now that copyright infringement is murder, rape, arson and kidnapping all rolled into one, plus stealing, theft, larceny, etc.

    Is there any provision in any other larceny law that allows the stealing if done for educational purposes? Can I steal your car for parody?

    Anyhow, you seem to be saying that the government should control the outlets for music because the RIAA and MPAA have made a purely business decision to not use the remedies available to them. I am supposed to lose my choice of services because THEY can't live with the remedies proved to them by law?

    What exactly is it called when a large corporation effects a change in the law in order to enhance its public image? Advertising isn't the right word...

  • grizzly||

    It is fine for less-than-famous artists to favor a means to distribute their music for free. But I rarely hear this subtle argument in the discussion. Most of the time it is "Get down with IP rights!" including the rights of people who don't want to give away what they create.

  • ||

    Yeah, talk about playing dumb, sounds like its time for you to do out to your dumbness sandbox.

    This is why joe (RIP) promulgated his Memorial Law.

  • ||

    What's the Memorial Law (and RIP isn't a real RIP I hope)?

    As for shutting down these services, there is a strong Posner-esque element that says in a battle between industry giants like the RIAA and a bunch of irrelevant Lamars, fuck the Lamars.

  • ed||

    you seem to be saying that the government should control the outlets for music

    No, Lamar. I believe that there are legitimate functions of government, one of which is as a protector of its citizens' rights. The courts, the police, the armed forces...all legitimate, without which we have anarchy. We cede the use of force to these governmental entities. In return, they are obliged to protect our property and our property rights and to bring justice to criminals.

    It's telling that, when you poll actual artists who have goods to sell, the majority favor enforcement of property rights. The recording "industry" is a convenient bogeyman, but it's the artists who are getting screwed by illegal downloading. And nobody is preventing them from giving away their music if they wish to do so.

  • ||

    What's the Memorial Law (and RIP isn't a real RIP I hope)?

    joe'z Law: Any post attacking the intelligence of another person is likely to contain a typo.

    Its now joe'z Memorial Law since joe departed these boards in a huff after being soundly ridiculed for claiming that a cartoon of a monkey must, necessarily, be racist in the Age of Obama.

  • High Every Body||

    Its now joe'z Memorial Law since joe departed these boards in a huff after being soundly ridiculed for claiming that a cartoon of a monkey must, necessarily, be racist in the Age of Obama.

    But joe finally had a valid point.*

    *NSA, are you listening? See how I post now?

  • ed||

    That's what finally finished off joe? A monkey cartoon?
    He must go batshit over pictures of leprechauns.

  • ||

    "It's telling that, when you poll actual artists who have goods to sell, the majority favor enforcement of property rights."

    Enforcement of property rights is one thing (such as suing the person doing the illegal copying). Shutting down competing outlets is a whole other thing.

  • ||

    Thanks RC. I've been doing more running than hitting around here lately. Surely there's a drinking rule about incorporating Hit and Run.

  • ||

    "The recording "industry" is a convenient bogeyman"

    How many independent artists lobby congress to lengthen copyrights? How many independent artists hire lawyers to shut down music outlets that compete with major record labels?

    I don't think it is unreasonable to point the finger at industry trade groups that do these things. To a certain extent, they are SUPPOSED to be the bogeyman so that ire isn't directed at the labels themselves. FWIW.

  • Joel||

    ed | April 17, 2009, 1:21pm | #
    That's what finally finished off joe? A monkey cartoon?
    He must go batshit over pictures of leprechauns.


    Nah, that's just making fun of the Irish. What's wrong with that?

  • ed||

    Shutting down competing outlets is a whole other thing

    Running a site (and proudly calling yourself a "pirate") that openly promotes and facilitates theft is no different than a pawnbroker who fences stolen goods. And don't tell me that file-"sharing" sites get nothing in return. There's lots of advertising and links to other shady "services," not to mention the sick thrill they get by thumbing their noses at authority and playing bigshot to an adoring criminal brotherhood. Nobody does something for nothing.

    Nah, that's just making fun of the Irish. What's wrong with that?

    Joe was reportedly a little Irishman.
    Not that there's anything wrong with being green, tiny and drunk all the time.

  • ed||

    Anyway, this thread has been magically delicious, but I've hit, and now I must run.

  • ||

    And yet, pawn brokers are not illegal. Has there been an effort by the retailers of American to shut down pawnbrokers? No. Thank you.

  • Joel||

    Not that there's anything wrong with being green, tiny and drunk all the time.

    Well, yeah, but if you're gonna be oversensitive about it...

  • High Every Body||

    And yet, pawn brokers are not illegal. Has there been an effort by the retailers of American to shut down pawnbrokers? No. Thank you.

    But there is a continuing effort to jail fences of stolen goods.

    Nice try though!

  • Tim Cavanaugh||

    And, as Wired notes, any press is good press, at least for The Pirate Bay

    Maybe somebody's pointed this out, but isn't the press actually better for copyright holders? I mean unless we assume that a $3 million fine and a year in prison will have no deterrent effect at all?

  • High Every Body||

    Maybe somebody's pointed this out, but isn't the press actually better for copyright holders?

    As one of the first Reason certified Terrorists and former Time Person of the Year, I tend to agree.

  • ||

    "But there is a continuing effort to jail fences of stolen goods."

    I haven't objected to individualized enforcement. What I object to is this wholesale, shut 'em all down attitude. If you are found engaging in infringement, the law provides for drastic penalties against you. The record companies don't want to pursue those individualized remedies, so they want ALL pawnbrokers shut down. And, oh by the way, those services also offer legitimate distribution that competes with the major labels. Don't think there isn't an anti-trust issue lurking in the shadows.

  • ||

    @Lamar:

    You got the point. The music industry doesn't sue the actual rippers and seeders of the data, but the search machine that delivers only the links. This is highly problematic, because as mentioned above google and other services do the same. Are they now also suspect? Wouldn't it otherwise not been inequal. Also, when the artist or rights holder sees a illegal copy of his work or someone copying it, he has to act or he loses his rights.

    So, actually, they would have to sue google afterwards.

    The problem with this process is that it doesn't aim at release groups like Vitality or even the seeders in the torrent, but rather at the search engine that only is a list of torrents...

  • High Every Body||

    But they are not trying to shut down every streaming site on the internet, so your pawn shop example fails.

  • ||

    Google's rolling in money. They could easily fund a pre-emptive lawsuit against RIAA to establish that it is not illegal to make available multiple-use infrastructure that happens to be used by a tiny minority for illegal purposes.

    Getcher popcorn ready. That would be a battle of the titans, and a public service to boot.

  • B||

    For the life of me, I do not understand why this site continuously puts forth the notion that copyright violations and theft of intellectual property are cool.

  • ||

    1) Illegal file sharing is not theft. It's more like free-riding IMHO. There is harm done but it is difficult to assess the amount. I find this distinction to be important.

    2) I find copyright laws - be they American or European - are necessary, but in their current form they are just unbalanced, unfair and too broad. And just look who drove the expansion of these laws. The current state of intellectual property is far away from being a libertarian solution.

    3) TPB is just a platform. Yes, it was widely used for copyright infringement but never did the owners participate in that conduct themselves. Google could be sued on the same grounds.

  • Paul||

    If we're going to advocate stealing other people's property, we should at least have the decency to use proper grammar in the process.

    I disagree with you and I discovered errors in your grammar, therefore I am right.

  • Paul||

    Maybe somebody's pointed this out, but isn't the press actually better for copyright holders? I mean unless we assume that a $3 million fine and a year in prison will have no deterrent effect at all?

    Some deterrent. I only see a deterrent to big-time operators and central, open repositories. file sharing will continue apace, but it may be chilled for people hanging out a shingle which reads "get your illegal content here"

  • Michael B Sullivan||

    If you can't find a way to give away your music legally, you're not trying very hard.



    Wait, what? Are you suggesting that it's somehow illegal to give away music that you hold the copyright to via bittorrent? That would be... novel.

  • ||

    Illegal file sharing is not theft. It's more like free-riding IMHO. There is harm done but it is difficult to assess the amount.

    I asked this question once before, but never caught up with the thread:

    What's the difference, conceptually, between making perfect copies of $20 bills, and making perfect copies of a song or movie? If the latter should be legal, why not the former?

    I find copyright laws - be they American or European - are necessary, but in their current form they are just unbalanced, unfair and too broad.

    Pretty much where I am.

  • ||

    What's the difference, conceptually, between making perfect copies of $20 bills, and making perfect copies of a song or movie? If the latter should be legal, why not the former?

    While I don't argue that the latter should be legal in most cases, I'll still try:

    The former one is copying a state-controlled universal medium of value exchange that effectively earns you $20 and lowers the value of everyone other's dollars by some amount.

    The latter one has you using a private service for free even though you should have paid something for it. It is not gone but it may lower the incentive for the producer to produce further services. You could try to sell it for 20$ (which probably won't work) but its inherent value is much more unstable and it is not a universal medium of value exchange.

  • Christopher Ronk||

    I understand why the media went after them. They are facilitating stealing. Anyone who say's otherwise is delusional.

    That said; I have no problem with Pirate Bay sticking it to the man.

  • Kevin Carson||

    ed: If anything called "property" is property, and "theft is theft," do you think Lincoln should have provided compensation to the slave owners?

    Nobody has a legitimate property right to a series on ones and zeros on a CD, a hard drive, or any other GENUINE property someone actually possesses--any more than they have a legitimate property right to a human being. There's no way to enforce your idiotic "intellectual property" [sic] rights without infringing on my genuine rights to use my genuine tangible property as I see fit.

    In other words, "intellectual property" [sic] is theft of REAL property.

  • ed||

    Nobody has a legitimate property right to a series on [sic] ones and zeros...

    Nice try, Kevin. I'm particularly entertained by how you've tried to annihilate the concept of property by assigning a binary code to it. And your bizarre reference to Lincoln is, well, bizarre.

    intellectual property" is theft of REAL property

    Again, nice try, but when I write a song, I haven't stolen anything from you.

  • Kevin Carson||

    Ed: No, but when you prevent me from doing whatever the hell I want with MY physical copy of the CD it's recorded on, on MY hard drive, you ARE stealing from me.

    There is no such thing as a property right in arranging ones and zeros, or the letters of the alphabet, or any other form of information in a particular configuration.

    My idea of a "nice try" is asserting that "intellectual property" [sic] is really property, because it JUST IS (after all, it's CALLED "property," right?), and that violation of IP is "stealing" because it JUST IS.

  • ||

    "What's the difference, conceptually, between making perfect copies of $20 bills, and making perfect copies of a song or movie? If the latter should be legal, why not the former?"

    The copied money does not have value, the copy of a movie does.

  • Suki||

    Stealing is stealing Kevin. No matter how you try to dance around it.

  • ed||

    when you prevent me from doing whatever the hell I want with MY physical copy of the CD

    Fair Use, ethically and legally, allows you to rip your CD to your hard drive and make MP3s and any other copies for your private use. When you sell those copies or distribute them, you have crossed the line, ethically. Thieves are unethical. They take what they want. They're unable to grasp the concept of property. That concept separates us humans from apes.

  • ed||

    The copied money does not have value

    Tell that to all the successful counterfeiters, Lamar.
    They wouldn't be doing it if their bogus paper had no value.

  • ed||

    I retire to bedlam.
    Good luck, apes, with your ones and zeros.

  • Correspondence courses||

    I learn more information from this site

  • dudeman||

    copyright is not a fundamental right. It is a privelage granted to createors by society as compensation for providing their work. I other words; copying music is only illegal because we as a society agree that it should be. So you can say: "copying is illegal, simple as that!" sure, it is, but the real issue is: should it be? illegal != wrong.

    If we abolish copyright law then musicians won't make money from selling albums. Why should they? Do we really believe that musicians have a fundamental right to a monopoly on the music they create? Is this really an essenitial or even desirable notion in our society? We have to question these fundamental principals.

    remember: the market for digital music is ARTIFICIAL; it only exists because of copyright law. If I grow some potatoes there is a real market for those potatoes; they have an inherit value. It I produce a digital work that can be distributed to anyone at no cost, then there is no market for this, a recording has no inherit value. Only copyright law gives it value by criminalizing unauthorised distribution. Do we, as a society, really want to preserve this artificial market? THIS is what you should be debating.

  • ed||

    Do we really believe that musicians have a fundamental right
    to a monopoly on the music they create?


    Yes. Do you have a "monopoly" on the paycheck you receive for your work?
    How would you feel if I stole it?

    It I produce a digital work that can be distributed to anyone at no cost, then there is no market for this, a recording has no inherit value.

    Your syllogism is comically flawed. Expense of reproduction and distribution has nothing whatsoever to do with the ethical points of profiting from someone else's hard work and creativity. If the work has "no inherent value," why are people copying it in the first place?

    Do we, as a society, really want to preserve this artificial market?

    No one is forcing you to participate in it. You have no natural right to hear music or see movies or play video games without paying the creators and distributors of those works.

    Admit it: what you really want is a free ride on someone else's back.

  • ||

    "Tell that to all the successful counterfeiters, Lamar."

    In the same vein, if a fraudster sells a piece of land that doesn't exist, would you say that the non-existent land has value?

    "Do you have a "monopoly" on the paycheck you receive for your work?"

    No. I don't receive royalties each time a document I produce is copied or changes hands (or formats). While I am entitled to get paid for my work, it isn't a 'monopoly' in the sense that I don't control it for my life plus 70 years.

  • ||

    Ed, then why only 70 years? You can pass property to heirs in perpetuity.

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