File sharing: it’s not just a way to get free stuff anymore. In Sweden, it’s now an officially recognized religion. Philosophy student Isak Gerson has tried and failed several times to get his Missionary Church of Kopimism recognized as a religion, authorities have relented. Kopimism holds as its central principal, that copying data is a sacred act.
Sweden is no stranger to file sharing cases, but a case that has just gotten underway in the country is a real outlier. A Swedish woman, aged 58, is accused of sharing over 45,000 music tracks online. The staggering scale of this case has the prosecution talking about a possible jail sentence.
The Swedish Pirate party announced back in May that they would be providing hosting for torrent site The Pirate Bay. Now they are taking things a step further and are expected to run the site's business from within the Swedish Parliament. The Swedish Constitution, they say, would protect this endeavor with its guarantee of legal immunity for actions undertaken as part of a party's political mandate.
The Pirate Party stresses the issues of government transparency, privacy, free speech, and copyright reform. An election is coming up soon, so much of this could just be political bluster. Still, they sound pretty serious. "We can never accept the copyright industry’s way of systematically and legally harassing anyone who tries to build next-generation industries," said Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge.
It seems The Pirate Bay just won't die, no matter how many battles they lose. There's always someone to clean things up and fill in the missing pieces.
Swedish company Global Gaming X first announced in June that it was interested in acquiring The Pirate Bay. Its majority stakeholder and CEO, Hans Pandeya, also claimed that the company had the backing of some mysterious Russian investors. Despite relentless palaver and numerous promises, Global Gaming X and its cash-strapped CEO have not been able to produce convincing evidence of their ability to pull off the deal.
We're not sure if this is just an excuse to dress up as pirates and wave the Jolly Roger in a public setting (and admit it, you've wanted to do this since the first time you rode Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean ride as a child), but a band of Swedish 'pirates' marched in protest of the Stockholm district court scalawags who issued a guilty verdict in the Pirate Bay trial. Pirate Bay's founders -- Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Carl Lundstrom -- were each sentenced to walk the plank one year in jail and ordered to be pay 30 million kronor ($3.6 million) in damages to several major media companies following the ruling on Friday.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets led by Sweden's Pirate Party, a political organization which supports free file sharing for noncommercial use, many of which could be seen wearing bandannas and other pirate-attire. The party said it's membership shot up 20 percent to about 20,000 after the verdict was announced.
"The establishment and the politicians have delcared war against our whole generation," said Rickard Falkvinge, party Chairman and founder.
While unconfirmed, we hear that several court officials, fearful the protest might turn physical, made a clean getaway after someone distracted the crowd by shouting out, "Look behind you, a three-headed monkey!"
Sweden recently enforced a new anti-piracy policy that lets copyright holders quickly acquire the identity of major pirates and prosecute them directly through the courts, without any police intervention at all – and a many took notice.
According to Netnod, a Swedish web tracking firm, web traffic on the day the policy went into place dropped from 120GB/s to 80GB/s. But, the drop is likely temporary according to the VP of Sweden’s (I kid you not) Pirate Party, Christian Engstrom, who states, “Today, there is a very drastic reduction in internet traffic. But experience from other countries suggests that while file-sharing drops on the day a law is passed, it starts climbing again… One of the reasons is that it takes people a few weeks to figure out how to change their security settings so that can share files anonymously.”
Still, the law has been under fire due to its allowing major corporations to circumvent the police by means of direct lawsuits. Obtaining specific information is as easy as going to the uploader’s ISP, who will then get his IP and identity.
What do you think? Is it fair to let copyright holders protect their products at any cost, or is it the beginning of a long line of abuse from major corporations? Let us know after the jump.
Swedish cops seized a server containing 16,000 pirated movies in a raid they conducted last month. It is claimed that the server belonged to a file-sharing ring called Sunnydale and was being operated furtively at a location outside Stockholm from where it was seized.
Antpiratbyrån, a private copyright advocacy group, claims that the entire Sunnydale file-sharing ring, which consists of 10 servers, has been rendered ineffective due to the raid.
But The Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde refuted Pontén’s tall claim. "More than 800,000 people have uploaded to The Pirate Bay, so I don't believe it's the source of everything. But it is possible that it's a major source," he told Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet.