The Pirate Bay Issue - English Translation

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Pirate hunt 2006

This is an article posted in the swedish magazine ETC. It is written by Mika Sjöman, active in the Pirate Party, and a candidate for the riksdag, should the Pirate Party get enough votes this fall.

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Legal outrages flourish; pirates hunted in light of election 2006

Yesterday, Sweden once again became interesting in the international news channels. The media reported about how the world's largest (swedish) file sharing community, Piratebay, was haunted by the police with the help of Antipiratbyrån, the lobbyists of the American movie industry.

I've previously written in the ETC Magazine about how us pirates politically protect every man's right* to take part of culture and knowledge. We believe that everyone should have the right to participate in the digital culture, since it doesn't cost a single crown to give everyone access to it. If the main issue is paying musicians and writers, we can find an infinite amount of great solutions. The record companies are no longer needed for the distribution, but only for production, even though they refuse to accept this fact. Why should they, when they're making billions on the currently implemented, outdated copyright law? With the possibility of file sharing, we have a fantastic opportunity to give everyone a social citizenship, that is, public access to a modern version of the public library.

When the law on file sharing from 2005, grouped with all the established government parties [all seven of them; the Pirate party is not one], supposed to imbue fear into the citizens and anguish, terrible things happen.

Yesterday, one of the Pirate party's former board members was apprehended by the police and brought in for interrogation because he was also the legal advisor of Piratebay. He was pulled into a police station and was forced to supply a DNA sample, even after pointing out to them that his involvement with the organisation was simply that of a legal advisor. The police told him that he should be more careful who he chooses to represent, upon which he answered that this is exactly what legal advisors are for [advising someone on law issues]. You see, the legal advisor is currently on his last year of the lawyer education at the university. If this is the way the police reasons, you may want to think twice before becoming a lawyer in future Sweden.

Another legal outrage, originating earlier in the day, was the confiscation of The Pirate Bay's servers by the police on orders from the prosecutor. You see, the police didn't just pull the plug on the servers providing completely legal torrent files, but also on the political organisation Piratbyrån that is not affiliated with the Piratebay organisation. A political organisation trying to affect the ways their issues are handled in the election movement of 2006.

Those who choose to accept the fact that politically active legal advisors and organisations are abused and forced to supply DNA samples as described above can't relax just yet, however. There were other things going on at the same time. Because of the prosecutor's blind rampage, several web-based swedish companies without any connection to The Pirate Bay were taken off the web. This is because the enforcers of the law didn't make a separation between the Piratebay and the server space of other organisations. Several business owners called activists of the Pirate party, asking what the hell is up with Sweden. They felt like outlaws. Even more subtly, the most important distribution channel for free musicians, that is the musicians who spread the music without record company contracts, disappeared. Some of the calls we had were from insanely pissed off musicians who are using Piratebay as their sole source of marketing in order to get gigs. What does the minister of law [Thomas Bodström] have to say about this criticism?

At the same time we must ask minister of law Thomas Bodström why the social democrates are letting us down on their election vow to not redevide police and prosecutor resources to hunt down file sharers. Maybe the minister of law is not a hypocrite, but isn't it time for him and the leaders of the established parties, who only last week criticised their own criminalisation of the file sharers, to blindly trust the voices of the lobbyists?

Sweden is wonderful, but we must never allow the development of a legal machine that in appears to almost randomly perform these atrocities. To defend ourselves, we must protect the principle of the right to privacy, one of the Pirate party's three corner stones. During the spring, the head of police has propagated DNA registration of suspects in papers like Göteborgs-posten. If the legal system is so easy to abuse that even political organisation's legal advisors are tried, we should stop taking their word on legally secure solutions.

Yesterday, the Pirate party's member count increased by 25%, and by that, the place as the absolutely largest new party outside of the riksdag was secured. It's sad it had to happen with the help of an American lobbyist organisation, but we promise that if we get into the riksdag, we will do everything it takes to stop it forever. The social democrates will not be allowed to legalize their illegal surveillance, and neither is the Anti-piracy lobby. They haven't earned that trust.

Mika Sjöman
Riksdag candidate of the Pirate party
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