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A Flogging on the Poop Deck: Pirate's Bay Through the Eyes of a Svensk Poutiner

Posted by Jer / April 23, 2009

20090423pirate.jpgThis post comes courtesy of Goran, a MTL Poutiner alumni and law aficionado who is currently functioning as MP's Swedish correspondent (he's re-located there temporarily). Although we normally stick to Montreal-only affairs on the site, we asked him to update us on the internationally and electronically relevant Pirate Bay Trial. He's recently abandoned his eye-patch and fake hook to discover more legitimate means of musical booty consumption. Here's part one of his response to the outcome of the trial

I'm Getting T-aye-arrr'd

"Arrr... shiver me timbers!", is what I would be saying if I intended to bore you with pirate speak, or if I were in the least bit surprised by last Friday's Pirate Bay judgment delivered by Stockholm's court of first instance. Although the world was waiting in anticipation, and many interested parties (from torrent downloaders to mass content moguls) were eager uncork their bottle'o'rum and raise their cups, I realized I was coming down with a bad case of the scurvy. Why do we even bother at this point?

I won't tire y'all with the history of content on the internet nor the effects of downloading on our Jurassic music industry or our instant-gratification-fixated society. But you should be aware that the Bay'o'Pirates case is nothing new: not legally, not culturally. It's merely a delayed European response to the American Napster and Grokster decisions, which long ago settled matters in the world's most content rich nation. Canada has been reluctant to follow the American lead on matters of sharing and downloading, but pressure from down south persistently surges up.

Pirates Booties Land in Jail?

Maybe the court of first instance was somewhat harsh on our mateys. Accused of an original contributory crime of aiding and abetting (or enabling/promoting) mass copyright infringement, reflecting the prosecutor's diligence and creativity, four pirates were sentenced to a year in jail each and fined a total of 30, 000, 000 SEK (circa $ 4.4 million CAD) in punitive damages. The industry wants its money... pay up, punks!

I guess they did in fact organize, administer, systematize, finance, promote, etc. a website which could be, and definitely was, put to illicit uses. But what of all the legitimate uses of torrents and file sharing? What if I'm a content owner not interested in suing Pirate Bay, but my collecting society has taken the liberty to do so on my behalf? Record industry, you mind commenting on why so many crazy pirates would be interested in illegally obtaining your wares? Didn't think so...

The issues are nowhere near settled. Our pirates have another two possible appeals in the Swedish court system alone, and they're intent of taking full advantage. Surely, the Supreme Court will be more even handed and it could take up to another five years to come to a final judgment. At that point, the case will be even less relevant than it is today. With the added potential of referring matters to the daddy of them all, the European Court of Justice - not the most efficient of judicial bodies, it is also possible that our grandchildren will be giggling at the obsolete judgment when finally delivered (...the judgment, not the grandchildren).

I'll stop here for now, and be back with part two tomorrow. If you're interested in falling asleep early tonight, there's a pretty "comprehensive" Wikipedia entry on the trial. You can also check out the Local, which provides news from Sweden news in English. There, you'll find curious tidbits like musicians crying about our pirates facing a year of jail time, ISP's refusing to shut down the site, Swedish protests and increasing Pirate Party memberships, the display of the Pirate Bay servers at the Swedish Tech Museum, our diminishing privacy on the web, increasing anonymous web-surfing, and blah, blah, blah, etc.

Discussion

9 Comments

Montreal_blogreader / April 27, 2009 at 12:27 pm
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more Irrelevant topics?
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golu dolls / February 1, 2019 at 08:46 pm
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kanchipuramsarees / February 1, 2019 at 08:47 pm
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kanchipuramsarees / February 1, 2019 at 08:47 pm
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herbal powder / February 1, 2019 at 08:47 pm
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