The next skirmish in the forever war about intellectual property is underway:
The Pirate Bay is the world's most high-profile file-sharing site and is being taken to court by media firms including Sony and Warner Bros.
The men face up to two years in prison and a fine of $143,500, if convicted.
"File-sharing services can be used both legally and illegally," defence lawyer Per Samuelsson said.
Frederik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde Kolmsioppi and Carl Lundstrom have portrayed themselves as digital libertarians and say that they cannot be prosecuted for copyright theft because none of the content is hosted on their computer servers.
The men are accused of "promoting other people's infringements of copyright laws", according to charges filed by senior public prosecutor Haakan Roswall.
Representatives of the movie, music and video games industry are seeking about 115 million kronor (10.6 million euros) in damages and interest for losses incurred from tens of millions of illegal downloads facilitated by the site.
Back in 2003, I argued that stopping downloads wouldn't save the record industry (and I explained that how Napster got me back into buying more music). Stopping downloads (which won't happen anyway) won't help movies or video games either. But it will help destroy those industries by alienating customers.