A Stockholm District Court has handed down its sentence against Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm, and he’ll be spared the whip, but little else. Assuming he ever turns up, he’ll be forced to serve a one year jail sentence and pony up a cool $1.1 million to pay off his debt to society. Svartholm’s fate was decided separately from his fellow Pirate Bay crew as a result of medical complications that prevented him from attending the original trial; however, these same complications prevented him from attending the new proceedings as well. As if being sentenced to a prison term without being present wasn’t bizarre enough, Svartholm’s lawyer admits he has no clue where is client is, or even if he is dead or alive.
Back in 2009, the Swedish courts handed down a conviction to the operators of The Pirate Bay. Those three defendants were each sentenced to one year in jail, as well as a $1.1 million fine for contributing to copyright infringement. The trio have been appealing their case ever since, but a fourth defendant was not included in the initial verdict. Co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm was apparently too ill to attend trial, so his case was suspended. Now, the Swedish courts have gotten tired of waiting.
Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm hasn't been able to show up for his appeals court hearing and potential sentencing, depending on how things turn out. This isn't the first time he's gone missing. Svartholm was a no-show at the Court of Appeal in Stockholm on September 28, 2010, and was on another continent purportedly due to medical reasons. And where is he now?
Pirate Bay co-founder has other things on his mind than jail time and multi-million dollar fines. Rather than worry about such trivial matters, Sunde has taken to championing a new, uncensored Internet, one that takes the general concept of BitTorrent and applys it to Domain Name System (DNS) lookups.
"By using existing technology for de-centralization together with already having a crew with skilled programmers, communicators, and network specialists, an alternative system is not far away," Sunde wrote in a blog. "We're not going to re-invent the wheel, we're going to build an existing technology as much as possible."
The way it works now, DNS is tasked with translating a site name, like maximumpc.com, with a string of numbers that represent the domain's actual address on the Web, one that computers can read. You can think of it as a telephone number, and ICANN holds the phone book via over a dozen PCs called "Root Servers." These servers contain the IP addresses of all the Top Level Domains (TLDs).
What Sunde wants to do is set up a P2P DNS system to take the place of these centralized root servers, the upshot being it would then be impossible for government agencies to block sites from being looked up.
Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde, and Carl Lundstrom -- the three men responsible for The Pirate Bay -- were again found guilty of copyright violations, this time by the Svea Appeals Court, the Associated Press reports.
The appeals court did reduce their prison sentences from one year each down to 10 months, however the reduced sentences come at a cost. Instead of owing $4.5 million in damages, as assessed by the lower court, the appeals court raised the amount to $6.5 million.
The three men, along with Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, who didn't appear in the appeals court hearing because of an illness, have maintained that they're innocent because TBP doesn't host any copyrighted material.
It's not clear whether they will seek another appeal.
The MPAA's DRM promotional site is the latest victim of the internet machine that is Anonymous. The loosely affiliated group of hackers replaced the CopyProtected.com page with a manifesto regarding the state of copy protection technologies in digital media. The hacked site also showed a graphic based on the Pirate Bay logo reading, "Operation: Payback". After a few moments, the site would redirect users to the Pirate Bay. CopyProtected.com is currently still down, but the Anonymous content is gone.
The posting read in part, " You are forcing our hand by ignoring the voice of the people. In doing so, you bring the destruction of your iron grip of information ever closer. You have ignored the people, attacked the people and lied to the people. For this, you will be held accountable before the people, and you will be punished by them.” It is unclear what further action Anonymous will take in Operation: Payback, but they will probably make sure we know about it.
This is just the latest step in Anonymous' underground war against copyright holders. Recent DDoS attacks against the MPAA, RIAA, and the Ministry of Sound have drawn attention. Do you think these efforts are unethical, or is it a proportional response to the actions of copyright holders?
Whistle-blower site Wikileaks is no doubt a target of US authorities after the recent leak of classified military wires from the Afghanistan war. Multiple news outlets are running stories culled from the documents, and the whole affair has been embarrassing to those in power. Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has even revealed he was nearly charged with conspiracy to commit espionage.
The Swedish Pirate Party has a history of stepping in to protect controversial sites, and now after becoming the host for The Pirate Bay, they are offering the same deal to Wikileaks. The site currently secures itself against server takedowns by distributing mirrors all over the world. The main host is currently PRQ, which is run by the Pirate Bay founders in Sweden, but a server under the protection of the Pirate Party couldn't hurt as a backup.
The Pirate Party expects if Wikileaks takes them up on the deal, they would face US pressure to shut down their servers. Anna Troberg of the Pirate Party says of that, “The Pirate Party will under no circumstances give in to pressure."
Fredrik Neij, Gottfrid Svartholm, and Peter Sunde, the three outspoken founders of the popular torrent tracking site The Pirate Bay, have been told to take their shenanigans out The Netherlands, or face the consequences. Failure to do so will result in fines of 50,000 euros (around US$64,590) per day.
This is the second time in two summers the trio have been told get out of Dodge, so to speak. Last summer, an anti-piracy outfit took TPB's founders to court, where a judge ultimately ordered them to remove a list of torrents linking to copyrighted works and to ban Dutch users from accessing the site.
Sunde and company opted to appeal the case, and this latest ruling confirms the one from a year ago. The judge did not, however rule that TPB is guilty of copyright infringement, but did say that the site's operators assist in copyright infringement by both allowing and encouraging users to share torrents.
While TPB and its founders will likely remain ever defiant, the case sets a precedent that might be used against other torrent sites.
Popular (and always controversial) torrent sharing site The Pirate Bay has been booted offline again after movie studios were able to secure a preliminary injunction against the site's host, CB3ROB, TorrentFreak reports.
"The injunction, which was granted without an oral hearing, stated that CB3ROB and Managing Director Sven Olaf Kamphuis were now prohibited from connecting The Pirate Bay website and its servers to the Internet," TorrentFreak writes.
Citing a Pirate Bay insider, TorrentFreak says the site has no intention of waiting for a decision from the Cyberbunker team and have already started the backup process that will eventually bring the site back online. Since The Pirate Bay's servers are intact, all they would need to do is direct the IP-tunnel through another provider. Once that's finished, it could be a few hours before all ISPs see the change.
It's been a wild and crazy six year run for the The Pirate Bay, the world's most popular torrent tracking site, but by all accounts, it looks as though TPB's founders are finally ready to quit sailing through legal waters and have decided to bring the torrent tracker to port.
"Now that the decentralized system for finding peers is so well developed, TPB has decided that there is no need to run a tracker anymore, so it will remain down! It's the end of an era, but the era is no longer up2date. We have put a server in a museum already, and now the tracking can be put there as well," the ever-defiant Pirate Bay bandits wrote in a blog entry.
At its peak, TPB helped coordinate the downloads of more than 25 million peers, but it's no secret that many of those were illicit downloads for everything from pirated movies and television shows, to cracked videogames and closed-source operating systems, particularly Windows. Earlier this year, TPB's legal troubles culminated in a high profile court case in which a Swedish judge ultimately sentenced the torrent tracking site's four founders to a year in jail and ordered them to pay 30 million krono ($3.6 million) to a handful of entertainment companies.
Hit the jump to find out what TPB's founders are up to next.