The Pirate Bay Issue - English Translation

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Swedish piracy culture

I thought I'd try to show you some of the piracy culture here in Sweden. It's not rare that arguments are lined with humor and satire, while still maintaining a to-the-point discussion of what it's all about.

Piracy is generally accepted in Sweden. I can sit at work and discuss the file-sharing applications, the latest Lost episode I downloaded or the quality of the X-men cam release with my colleagues. I can discuss the issues at dinner with my girlfriend's parents. Nobody is going to judge me, and so, most people are very open about their piracy.


Now, look at this picture from the May 1st demonstration (link 2) this year. This banner is a parody of rfsu, an organisation for sexual education. The banner says:
There are many questions
- How is it done?
- Why do you seed?
- Is my upload too small?

Of course, these questions are parodies of common sexual questions. This is just one of the examples of humor in Swedish piracy debate. In the 2005 demonstration, some people walked around sharing (handing out) fil. In swedish, file=fil.

I think we have a pretty unique view of the copyright issue here in Sweden. What's your opinion? Want to tell me how it is in your country? Feel free to leave a comment.

31 Comments:

  • I am from the UK and a regular bittorrent user (both public and private trackers). I think it's great that filesharing and 'piracy' is so accepted in Sweden and that a large number of people are willing to stand up for it, to the extent of having a political party supporting it.

    Long live the seeds!
    rocktorrentz

    By Anonymous rocktorrentz, at 3:20 PM  

  • Hehe. It's the same here, in Hungary :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:08 PM  

  • I think Sweden is unique indeed. However, piracy is discussed in the Netherlands just as freely as you describe. There are however a lot of content industry apologists here.

    I think it is safe to say that Sweden is much more advanced on this issue than any country.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:15 PM  

  • Wonderful work here! I've been trying so hard to keep up with the unfolding story & everything gets so confusing and tangled.This blog is a life saver!

    Canadian laws are a bi looser than the US but still very similiarin ways. Peer to peer sharing isn't illegal yet but the RIAA is working on that too. We do get hassle over the pirated films & stuff. If they haven't been relased yet for DVD it makes it hard to explain why we have them. Then its a charge of posession of pirated goods. Stupid if you ask me.

    Keep up the great work here. I'll keep checking in.

    By Blogger Oº°‘¨t®ãg‘°ºO, at 5:27 PM  

  • Hello all, I thought I will stop by and leave a comment :) First: I'm from Poland, and want to say that we all are watching carefully what is happening with, and around TPB. This surely will set the precedence for the upcoming years, form most countries in the Europe.
    But, to the topic: piracy is quite common here too. But you could divide it into two categories: first are firms that sell pirated copies of programs - and I think that should be prohibited, because that casch should go oryginal authors.
    Second category are ordinary users that dowload music/films/apps. Some of them doesn't even know that downloading app from internet is "illegal" (they got computer, someone show them how to download apps, and they're doing it)! Also, some of people use downloaded material as some form of trailers - if the music/film is good, I go and buy oryginal CD/DVD or watch the film in the cinema.
    As to the MPAA/RIAA/BSA they'are intentionally lying in they claims, and "profit lost" calculations, because if people won't download these materials, they wouldn't buy it either! Lowering prices would allow people to buy these, but they prefer not to cut off income of theris, but do legal threatments instead. And now they're trying to limit legal usuage of CD you pay for (DRM)! We should stop them setting our laws!

    ps. thx for translating news for us :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:36 PM  

  • Hello all, I thought I will stop by and leave a comment :) First: I'm from Poland, and want to say that we all are watching carefully what is happening with, and around TPB. This surely will set the precedence for the upcoming years, form most countries in the Europe.
    But, to the topic: piracy is quite common here too. But you could divide it into two categories: first are firms that sell pirated copies of programs - and I think that should be prohibited, because that casch should go oryginal authors.
    Second category are ordinary users that dowload music/films/apps. Some of them doesn't even know that downloading app from internet is "illegal" (they got computer, someone show them how to download apps, and they're doing it)! Also, some of people use downloaded material as some form of trailers - if the music/film is good, I go and buy oryginal CD/DVD or watch the film in the cinema.
    As to the MPAA/RIAA/BSA they'are intentionally lying in they claims, and "profit lost" calculations, because if people won't download these materials, they wouldn't buy it either! Lowering prices would allow people to buy these, but they prefer not to cut off income of theris, but do legal threatments instead. And now they're trying to limit legal usuage of CD you pay for (DRM)! We should stop them setting our laws!

    ps. thx for translating news for us :)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:40 PM  

  • Piracy happens all the time here in the U.S. We, however, have some aggressive groups trying to shut it down. I think that they've succeeded in scaring away the more timid file-sharers, but the more active ones continue. The occassional lawsuit hitting a couple of hundred individuals is pretty common. It's just too bad that the industry doesn't come up with a different business model that would still allow for money to be made, just in a different way.

    By Blogger agabus, at 5:42 PM  

  • Demo pics:
    http://www.mobilblog.nu/niclas
    http://piratewatch.blogspot.com/

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:51 PM  

  • In Australia, a survey conducted in late 2005 by broadband users group Whirlpool (www.whirlpool.net.au), and more than a third of respondants stated that they used their broadband internet connection for downloading TV shows.

    TV in Australia is pretty pathetic, where it will often take months to years for TV shows from other countries (US, UK) to reach us. Pay TV isn't much better than free-to-air, with 24 hour re-runs of old TV, on hundreds of channels. Both free-to-air and pay TV is riddled with long, annoying and loud ads, and shows are often cut down - I've watched movies on TV where entire scenes have been deleted so they can fit in more ads... and they have been doing this since the early 1990's.

    So, like what I guess is how it is in Sweden, most young people (15 - 25 year olds) download TV shows. When you talk with young people, they generally will download TV whereever they can. If they still have a dialup internet connection or a slow or otherwise limited "fraudband" connection (according to the monopolist of Australian telecommunications, 256kbit/s is broadband), then they'll get files from a friend at a LAN party or using recordable CDs or DVDs.

    When talking to older people, the feeling is mixed. Generally, I can talk about this stuff with my parents, and they will ask about the latest episodes of their favourite shows. I have a computer in the lounge room that is setup for watching TV I've downloaded, which incidentally also has a TV Tuner card - however it's rarely used.

    Some people aren't supportive of it, or will only pirate (arr!) certain things - like they will download TV shows but only get their movies on DVD.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:36 PM  

  • Speaking as a Canadian, we look up to you guys, and are following this story very closely.

    Our laws aren't quite as draconian in the US: downloading is legal, but uploading isn't. However, with the conservative government "we" just voted in, nobody is sure how long this will last.

    If you guys thought your politicians caved to US Government lobbying quickly, you should see just how far our Stephen Harper (Prime Minister of Canada, we don't have a President) will bend over for a "better relationship" with Bush.

    Governmental pressure to enforce foreign business models in other countries is not only wrong in every way I can think of, but will directly lead to the destruction of the values that make our society civilized: Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Opinion, and Freedom of Thought.

    I'm an engineer, and have done what I can to further the cause by writing, supporting and distributing (GPL, of course) file sharing software.. MakeTorrent is probably my biggest contribution, as it's used by thousands of people every day to create torrent files.

    I can only hope that people all around the world will take notice of what's going on around us, and do their part to stop it.

    By Anonymous kRYPT, at 7:18 PM  

  • I think it's great that there is a public debate around the issue like this.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:40 PM  

  • Hello,

    first of all thank you for this blog! It gives me a good overview what's going on and kind of "first hand news".
    Regarding the "Swedish piracy culture": Well, regarding this aspect I would like to live in Sweden... I live in Germany, and over here pressure on file-shares has increased seriously over the last couple of month. Accused file sharers face two trials, a "Strafprozeß", "Jon Doe" vs. "The State" and a "Zivilprozeß", "Jon Doe" vs "Greedy Corporations". Usually the police is not after single filesharers, but the industry is! At the moment a company called Logistep is sending thousends of charges per month to prosecution authorities (which usually drop the investigation after disclosing the identity of the person to the company, thus enabling them to claim compensation). They use a nearly fully automated system based on a modified sharezza client. Since now this company keeps the compensation claims rather low (200-300€) as an "easy exit solution". By doing so they prevent a "Zivilprozeß", as it is not clear if they would win (due to the nature of their automated system). Pure scare-tactics, but at least you don't face any trials at all (unless you are a heavy user, charged multiple times).
    Recently in a bust 130 homes of filesharers where searched (all non-commercial!), and further 3300+ where charged, as the police (in collaboration with antipiracy organisations) was wiretaping an edonkey server. Funny enough, they don't touched the server, as the prosecution authorities stated that running such a server is legal (strange, isn't it?).
    Generally spoken: If you share less than a certain ammount of files charges by the authorities will be dropped (as with the Logistep complaints), nevertheless one is going to face a "Zivilprozeß".
    In this recent case (edonkey bust) the record companies announced they would claim 10000€ per song(!) compensation. Therefore a lawyer of some heavy users calculated compensation claims for some of his clients ranging up to 40 Million €. You see, our system is worst than yours. And further on, the justice secretary presented the draft of a new "Urheberrechtsgesetz", according to that an ordinary file-shares could face penalties up to several (3, if I recall it correctly) years in jail just for downloading one singel song (this would also prevent the authorities from dropping the case...)! In a press conference she stated that this is not anxious, as the record companies "don't want to sue privat, non commercial file-shares". As the press questioned the statement (mentioning the Logistep machinery, which pilled up more than 20000 charges yet), she stated "I don't know this case". Well done, Mrs. Secretary!
    In the initial draft there was a "Bagatellgrenze" (which means if you are below a certain threshold no prosecution would take place, thus also preventing the "Zivilprozeß", as the authorities don't acquire your identity), but this was dropped to interference of the conservative party (at the momen t a coalition of social-democrates and conservatis is forming the government).
    Anyway, thanks for this blog again and greetings from Germany!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:40 PM  

  • I just found this, thank you very much for translating it all.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:50 PM  

  • Hi there and thank you so much for providing us with this valuable translations (I was getting tried of machine swedish-to-english translations :-)).
    I live in Austria. The legal situation here is equal to - let's say Germany. We have "standard" copyright laws which - i guess - meet the standards that the MPAA would "request". But the main difference to Germany is that there is no real enforcement. At least no big busts or arrests hit the local media here.
    The people around me (friends & family) are quite open about piracy. For example today my mother asked me to see if I can "find" a particular movie for her. I can discuss my latest downloads with my buddies with no problems - we even watch the lastest episodes of "The Simpsons" at school.
    It's a shame however that there are not more countries with pirate parties like yours.
    Good luck with the situation now and for the elections in September :)

    All the best from Austria,
    stephantom

    By Anonymous stephantom, at 9:51 PM  

  • I would be REALLY curious to see the sales figures of DVD's and CD's in Sweden. My guess is comparatively, there'd be little to no difference from other countries where piracy is frowned upon.

    Enjoying this whole thing. It's nice to see a country take issue with it's government capitulating to US pressure.

    GO SWEDEN!

    By Blogger M.Schumacher, at 9:55 PM  

  • i am a student from the US and i just want to thank you sincerely for your translations of the events that mean more to me than who won american idol or some crap like that. thank you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:43 AM  

  • Thanks a lot for translating all the articles, interviews, etc.!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:37 AM  

  • Thanks a lot for doing this. In the US there is very little opportunity to affect national policy so it's very exciting to see the reaction to this in Sweden having a real political consequence for the Pirate Party and, hopefully, this upcoming Swedish parliament.

    By Anonymous Michael, at 5:41 AM  

  • here in the US, you try to be careful who you tell about your pirating. Some people are scared to tell even their closest family members in fear of being turned in. I've often heard the statement,

    "Well... I got it, but I didnt exactly pay for it, if you know what i mean."

    My mom cringes everytime i mention downloading a movie or another adobe program. There are obviously alot of us around here, but you wouldnt necessarily know that the person next door has 140 thousand dollars of illegal software on their PC because we're pretty secretive about it.

    By Anonymous Pixelmixer, at 8:39 AM  

  • Translation request:
    Could you please translate http://www.aftonbladet.se/vss/nyheter/story/0,2789,835844,00.html
    I can't read swedish and I'm not 100% sure if it's related to TPB but I think so.

    Btw. Create work you are doing here. Thank you very much.

    - Tlakh

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:12 AM  

  • I live here in the UK, the youth is generally more open about piracy as we've grown up being told out of £15 CD price only about £1 of that goes to the musician. I don't think many people see it as morally corrupt to steal from a thief, but I think most people are concerned for the little guy.

    We have far more independent business in the UK than we do US globalisation, so it's these little companies people seem worried about. 'What happens if I put my work on the internet and it gets passed around and I get nothing from it?' is what I always want to know.

    However when it's a big corporation, whom many block a new musicians ability to make records by giving them exceptionally bad deals I can't do anything but laugh when they get pirated.

    Right now I'm just sick of American cronies sueing people who download music, when research shows these people actually spend more money on music than anyone else despite downloading it. Same with games and virtually anything else. They sue little girls, people without computers and dead people, I think it shows who really has the moral high ground.

    I hope the pirate party and piratbyran manage to get into government - hopefully it would inspire more people to fight for a change in copyright laws. I'm not sure if England could be the next country for it though as Tony Blair is too happy sleeping in Bush's bed.

    By Blogger NG, at 1:21 PM  

  • I'd say that here in Slovenia the attitude towards piracy is pretty much the same: no one is going to judge you because of piracy either.

    The difference, however, is that if the police gets involved, laws get mentioned or similar, nobody is going to stand up and support piracy publicly.

    I can't imagine a site resisting as much as TPB, here. Everybody would just stop running the site and be happy that they didn't get punished.

    It's my understanding that this is what happened with SuprNova (whose author was a Slovenian).

    By Blogger jakaj, at 1:54 PM  

  • hör gärna av dig till någon av oss i piratbyrån på #piratbyran.org på irc (efnet) för bättre samarbete med bloggarna. vi har tal och sånt på engelska du gärna får lägga upp.

    By Blogger Piratbyran, at 2:51 PM  

  • First of all: thanks for all the insight into this ongoing issue. Keep up the good work.

    In Germany it roughly like this: All the established political parties are anti-filesharing due to extensive lobbying from the Record Industry. There are - to my knowledge - no pro-filesharing parties at all.
    There is, however, the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) which stands for similar goals as the Piratpartiet, mainly a free information society and a "constitutional right of communication". They have about 1.500 members and a pretty big impact on topics such as free speech and privacy.

    Filesharing is pretty popular in Germany, too, though not as openly debated. This is mainly due to the fact that it actually is illegal to upload and people have been prosecuted for it. So far there have only been money fines and civil compensation for damages (2.000 - 15.000€, always settled out of court). Still people are of course intimidated to talk about it in the open. A new law is currently underway and if passed it will also outlaw downloading.

    In conclusion it is clear that there needs to be more discussion about this. You Swedes should keep it up and make it one scandal that people will remember. While i can understand the Record Industry trying to protect their income i must say that this world needs sane fair use clauses since music has always and will always be something that people identify with. Everyone should be able to share their favorite music and not a person (or group of persons) should have a monopoly on it. A sensible compromise must be found between money interests and culture. At the moment the balance is in danger of being tipped tremendously in the direction of money, which cannot be allowed much further.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:16 PM  

  • i am of the opionion that youve got a pretty nive view on this copyright thingy. but its sad that, at least it looks liek, the swedish government is somewhat influenced by us government and us government influenced by music and film industry.
    its all about industry in these times. governments all over the world are not brave enough to say no.
    its sad that here in germany our law minsitry wants to authorize industry to look up names behind ips and whole connection logs from your isp in case of industry suspect you to be a music thief or whatsoever.
    sad things happening all over the world

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:02 PM  

  • First of all: thanks for all the insight into this ongoing issue. Keep up the good work.

    In Germany it roughly like this: All the established political parties are anti-filesharing due to extensive lobbying from the Record Industry. There are - to my knowledge - no pro-filesharing parties at all.
    There is, however, the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) which stands for similar goals as the Piratpartiet, mainly a free information society and a "constitutional right of communication". They have about 1.500 members and a pretty big impact on topics such as free speech and privacy.

    Filesharing is pretty popular in Germany, too, though not as openly debated. This is mainly due to the fact that it actually is illegal to upload and people have been prosecuted for it. So far there have only been money fines and civil compensation for damages (2.000 - 15.000€, always settled out of court). Still people are of course intimidated to talk about it in the open. A new law is currently underway and if passed it will also outlaw downloading.

    In conclusion it is clear that there needs to be more discussion about this. You Swedes should keep it up and make it one scandal that people will remember. While i can understand the Record Industry trying to protect their income i must say that this world needs sane fair use clauses since music has always and will always be something that people identify with. Everyone should be able to share their favorite music and not a person (or group of persons) should have a monopoly on it. A sensible compromise must be found between money interests and culture. At the moment the balance is in danger of being tipped tremendously in the direction of money, which cannot be allowed much further.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:45 PM  

  • Hey you ;D Thanks for the great translations, noone else has thanked u, even tho' i dont really need them (from Denmark) i read them and enjoyed every part of it ;) So thanks for your great work;) Could u add me on msn and@nobrain.dk ?=)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:56 AM  

  • I have lived in india and the USA for a long time and now live in Australia. Though I have only worked in the US and Australia.
    In both places I can freely discuss filesharing with friends, co-workers and even my boss(es). In fact some of the organizations I worked for used plenty of pirated software. Without being specific, the company I work for now (sponsoring a multi-million dollar project), a direct subsidiary of the Government uses a pirated license of a famous db server for development.

    In the US, small businesses, normal white-collar workers and people who have regular uses for filesharing do so freely. It is the lay-users who are scared by the copyright issue. Like people who dont know the difference between a torrent and an mp3.

    Unfortunately that's most people.

    Anyway keep up the good work, people are reading your site often.
    I agree that the ddos on the police website is bad, the idiots should realize there are important, good things the police NEEDS its resources to be able to do, no matter how irresponsible they appear today. The ddos on antipiratebyran is fair game. I hope the next hit is warner bros, fox and the mpaa site.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:04 PM  

  • I live in Peru. Here, piracy is illegal. But it is also common, and not frowned upon by regular people. Everybody talks in the office about filesharing, where to get the latest episode of X or Y, and everyone trades mp3 files and usually fill their work pcs to the brim with them.

    In a few places, you can find a sort of "market stalls" with catalogs of bootlegs of movies, music albums, and tons and tons of software, which the police raids only occassionaly (they sometimes confiscate 'puters and discs, that's why now they are stored elsewhere and the stall is only the sales point). These places are very publicly known.

    I don't go to these places anymore, but that's because I get most of me booty off pirate bay. Arrr! ;)

    By Anonymous Sergius Maximus, at 3:26 PM  

  • In Germany, my German-teacher once said "I assume you all have illegaly downloaded music before."(I don't remember the context). She made it sound like it was the most normal thing in the world(and it *is*).

    By Anonymous Matthias, at 3:05 PM  

  • I am a software developer and rank Sweden in the same lot with China and Indonesia... simply an evil country that does not belong in the First World where we have the Rule of Law and property rights.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:26 AM  

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