The Pirate Bay Issue - English Translation

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

"Come out of the file sharing closet"

Swedish newspaper SvD reports that Ivar Wenster, head of culture in the Karlskrona municipality, had confessed to file sharing, encouraging others to do the same.

*** *** *** Translation
Head of culture wants more to come out of the file sharing closet

The Karlskrona municipality head of culture has admitted to file sharing and encourages others to follow. "I want more people to come out of the file sharing closet so that we can get a debate going", Ivar Wenster tells Later during the monday, he was reported to the police.

Head of culture Ivar Wenster commits crimes every day. He's one of the thousands of swedes who download music from the Internet.

- I want more adults to come out of the file sharing closet. We need to get a debate going that is about more than if it's right or wrong, Ivar Wenster tells

Since Juli 1st last year, it's illegal to download or supply copyrighted material. The crime can result in a fine or prison for up to two years. Ivar Wenster was reported to the police on monday morning, writes TT [a swedish news agency].

With his request, Ivar hopes more adults with established positions in society dares to reveal that they're file sharing, in order to make the industry rethink its position.

- The industry has to find new ways to refine their products instead of fighting against future consumers. If more adults got into the debate, the big companies would surely understand that this is not only about young people defying the law, he tells

The decision to reveal that he's a file sharer was made after last week's raids on The Pirate Bay and the following war between net pirates and the authorities, which, among other things, led to the web sites of both the police and the government crashed. Ivar Wenster believes the media reflect a simplified image of the problem.

- It seems it's only young net anarchists that are file sharing, but that's not true. Many adults who want to keep track of what's happening in culture download too, including me. In my work I meet lots of cultural workers making money on being able to spread their music, making more people discover them.

But won't it be hard for them to earn money on their music if people just download it instead of buying it?

- Of course, but the question is not that simple, and that's why I think a debate with more people involved is necessary. At the same time, you should keep in mind that the biggest losers are the major companies, and that it won't actually befall those without money.

So you want the new law which abolishes file sharing of copyrighted material to be annulled?

- Yes, it's crazy, it doesn't follow the evolution. Sweden has about the highest usage [percentage users of the population, of course] of broadband in the world. When new ways of exchanging information is developed, that law makers panic in fear of losing control.

Aren't you scared of being caught? This could be a matter of both illegal file sharing and agitation [encouraging others to do so].

- Nej, but I've been getting some crap from the local newspapers around here. But most people probably feel I have a point, it's just no one dares to say it out loud.

So you're not afraid of being fired?

- This is nothing I've done on the clock, I don't and download at work.

The chairman of the municipality board Mats Johansson (s) [social democrates] has, according to TT, had a serious talk with his head of culture during the day.
- I respect his opinion, but committing crimes is not acceptable. Part of Wenster's job is even to socialize with some of the concerned cultural workers, Johansson tells TT.

*** *** *** End of translation


  • There's a larger story on Ivar Wenster and the recent Swedish filesharing developments at P2P Consortium.

    By Blogger tg, at 1:18 PM  

  • A fresh story on Ivar Wenster with background material and analysis on the Swedish copyright battles is available at P2P Consortium. The story is targeted to international audiences.

    By Blogger tg, at 2:17 PM  

  • "But won't it be hard for them to earn money on their music if people just download it instead of buying it?"

    No. Studies have shown that only top-grossing acts lose recording sales revenue to filesharing. Most acts actually sell more records due to the increased exposure.

    By Blogger n8o, at 7:43 PM  

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