John Kennedy of IFPI
Rick Falkvinge, head of the Swedish Pirate Party, reports. There are a few sentences in Swedish at the beginning about how he's hoping to keep up better now (because of the pauses introduced by interpretation, maybe?).
Swedish blogger Snild Dolkow reported [...]That's pretty cool.
The case should be dismissed -- This was what the four defense attorneys were saying during the third day of the Pirate Bay trial. SvD.se is covering the trial live.
9.06 The trial on the four defendants continues. This morning, representatives from the industry will be heard. In the afternoon, the defendants will state their case.
9.07 The judge revisits the fact that the prosecutor has modified the charges -- which was revealed yesterday. The prosecutor has cancelled the charges of producing copies, and is now concentrating on the fact that torrent files have been distributed through The Pirate Bay.
- The only thing being dropped are the claims of producing copies, nothing else, says prosecutor Håkan Roswall, calling the changes an "adjustment".
The changes creates a few questions -- The defense attorneys do not consider it an "adjustment", but that a charge is being dropped. According to Peter Althin, Peter Sunde's defense attorney, they will revisit this subject later. The judge wants to know what consequences this will have for the trial, but it is agreed that the issue will be brought up again later this week.
According to the prosecutor, making something available [the remaining charge] happens when someone uploads a torrent file to The Pirate Bay. When other people download that torrent file, The Pirate Bay is also committing a crime, according to the prosecutor.
09.16 Peter Danowsky, the representative for record industry organization Ifpi and, in the trial, six Swedish record companies, begins to state his case. He starts with some background information on The Pirate Bay -- The number of users they had 2005, how the site works, and that is possible to download torrent files from it.
He directs the court's attention to the e-mail sent to The Pirate Bay about copyright infringement on the site -- and that the answer from the representatives has been that they don't care.
09.22 Ifpi has been testing The Pirate Bay, says Peter Danowsky. Copyrighted works has been downloaded via the site in order to make sure they work.
- With the help of The Pirate Bay, a number of recordings were downloaded, and these were later turned in to the court. We also have screenshots of this, says Danowsky.
According to Ifpi, The Pirate Bay has caused "considerable damages" for the record companies.
09.29 Danowsky cites the law. He points to the fact that the law states that a person assisting or preparing copyright infringement can be forced to pay compensation to the copyright holder for the financial losses and suffering.
- The damage that the four have caused through The Pirate Bay is, among other things, reduced sales of the recordings brought up in this case. But the damage is larger than that for the record companies. The Pirate Bay's activities lead to reduced interest in buying CDs, reduced interest in online sales, reduce interest in creating legal services, says Danowsky.
This means that Ifpi is not only requesting compensation for the losses in record sales, but for what the record companies consider further consequences of file sharing sites like The Pirate Bay.
09.40 Ifpi goes through the requests for compensation -- bringing up the number of downloads from The Pirate Bay. The damages are calculated by how many downloads had occurred when Ifpi downloaded the files from The Pirate Bay and by how many downloads had occurred when the police struck.
- What kind of values do you assign to this? asks Peter Danowsky, and continues:
- For the albums, we've chosen what the record companies would have gotten on average if the download had occurred through a legal service. At the time, a record cost ten euro, and the record companies got 6.5 of that.
The record companies' requests for compensation are affected by if the download occurred before or after there were legal downloads. The compensation is higher for records that have been distributed even though there were no legal alternatives, than for the records that were available through legal sites. The compensation is also affected by if the artists had approved their records being available on the Internet -- for example, The Beatles had not approved this when Ifpi downloaded "Let It Be" through the site.
09.49 Ifpi declines adjustment of the requests for compensation. Danowsky doesn't believe the statements that the four defendants are unable to pay the compensation. In his opinion, The Pirate Bay has earned large sums of money.
09.50 Peter Danowsky of Ifpi has stated his case. Henrik Pontén, representing Antipiratbyrån [lit. Bureau of antipiracy, similar to MPAA] and two swedish film companies, states his case. Antipiratbyrån has also downloaded from The Pirate Bay, and according to Pontén, they agree with Ifpi.
Antipiratbyrån demands compensations of 4.5 million crowns [$500 000] - a sum calculated by what The Pirate Bay would've had to pay in license fees to sell the movies available from the site. Antipiratbyrån also wants compensation for loss of goodwill.
09.58 The court takes a break.
10.20 Monique Wadsted of attorney firm MAQS, representing eight American movie and game companies, staets her case.
10.21 Wadsted says The Pirate Bay has had every opportunity to remove torrent files linking to copyright-protected works.
- It's not harder than removing a Word file for us ordinary people, she says.
According to Wadsted, the four defendants are "equitably liable" and should pay the compensation together.
10.24 Wadsted is going through, among other things, the technology - that a "leecher" becomes a "seeder" when a complete file is downloaded, how the tracker counts the number of times a file has been downloaded and so on.
10.27 The case concerns, among other things, "Harry Potter & The Goblet of Fire", "The Pink Panther" and the TV series "Prison Break". Wadsted reviews the number of times these works have been downloaded and uploaded through The Pirate Bay. According to Wadsted, Prison Break was made available on The Pirate Bay on December 3rd, 2005 and was downloaded 48 104 times between that point and May 31st 2006.
10.34 According to Monique Wadsted, The Pirate Bay has had "considerable traffic". The request for compensation is based on the fact that the works involved were not available on legal sites. As such, the compensation is based on what The Pirate Bay would have payed for advance screening licenses.
- What the users have gotten is an advance screening copy, but also a copy without copy protection, says Wadsted.
That means that the film companies want 261.48 crowns for every downloaded copy of Harry Potter, 222.55 crowns per download of Syriana, Walk The Line and Pink Panther. For the TV series Prison Break, they are demanding 415.81 crowns per downloaded copy. [100 crowns is about $11.20.]
Additionally, they are demanding compensation for "damage to the market" and "internal damage". They have also doubled the compensation - Wadsted references a Danish verdict which she will revisit in her final plea. Just like Ifpi, Wadsted doesn't see any reason to adjust the request for compensation.
10.46 Monique Wadsted has stated her case. The court discusses whether the defendants will state their cases before lunch, or at 13 o'clock like the court's schedule says.
10.47 Per E Samuelsson, representing Carl Lundström, moves for an acquittal since the prosecutor has modified the charge and that the case is no longer about producing copies. The attorneys of Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm Warg agrees, moving for the acquittals of their respective clients.
The prosecutor says he leaves it to the court to decide. The court in discussions. Monique Wadsted says the case is also about making available, and that it doesn't matter that the prosecutor is no longer bringing up production of copies.
The judge says the district court will announce their decision in the matter at a later time.
10.51 The trial continues. Jonas Nilsson, Fredrik Neij's defense attorney, states his case. He points to the fact that the counter for the number of times a work has been downloaded via The Pirate Bay is not reliable.
Jonas Nilsson stresses that The Pirate Bay are not the ones supplying works on the site, but that it's the users. He also says there is no copyright-protected material on the site's servers.
- No one can think that The Pirate Bay is supplying these files, says Jonas Nilsson.
Nilsson also brings up the description of the criminal act, and that the prosecutor claims that making available is uploading a torrent file. According to the defense, the uploaders computer has to be running, and the torrent application has to be running.
- And we don't know that they are, says Jonas Nilsson.
10.56 The defense keeps pointing out uncertainties.
- We don't know who's the uploader. We don't know how the uploader got a hold of the works. We don't know how Fredrik Neij has influenced the uploader. And, maybe more importantly, where is the concrete facilitation, other than through The Pirate Bay supplying a fully legal functionality and technology.
10.58 Jonas Nilsson brings up how Fredrik Neij came to be involved in The Pirate Bay's activities.
- He joined because he is a technician. He's a technician at heart. He didn't join because of ideological reasons, nor economical. He has done this without salary, and The Pirate Bay has never been run as a commercial project. However, after a time it was discovered that one could collect ad money for running the site.
According to Jonas Nilsson, Fredrik Neij has never encouraged anyone to commit copyright infringement. Neither has The Pirate Bay - though people often claim they have, says Nilsson.
- Where can we find evidence for such actions? he asks.
The bittorrent technology itself is not illegal, and Fredrik Neij's attorney points to this fact. Uploaders and downloaders need a special application, but The Pirate Bay has not supplied it. Instead, Jonas Nilsson stresses that the application can easily be found on the Internet or in stores.
- It's not a rare piece of software, he says, moving on to describe The Pirate Bay as a search engine.
- I mean that the torrent files that have been found via The Pirate Bay could also have been found on other search engines, like Google.
11.06 Earlier during the day, the plaintiffs have rejected that the e-commerce law is applicable in this case. Fredrik Neij believes otherwise. The Pirate Bay should be considered as a supplier of a service. In paragraph 16, it says the supplier of a service is not liable for the content in the information being transferred - a fact Neij and Jonas Nilsson consider very important for the case.
11.08 Ola Salomonsson, defense attorney for Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, is stating his case. Svartholm Warg is pleading innocent to all charges.
- He has not changed his opinion after the prosecutor's extensive presentation. He can simply not see in which way any of this would be a crime, says Salomonsson.
Just like Jonas Nilsson, Salomonsson points to the fact that The Pirate Bay have never encouraged copyright infringement. The defense claims The Pirate Bay should be regarded as a service and opposes all the claims of intent. There is nothing on The Pirate Bay encouraging the users to download copyrighted works, says Salomonsson.
11.15 The payments brought up by the prosecutor "don't always refer to The Pirate Bay", says Ola Salomonsson. Svartholm Warg will not deny the payments, but the defense claims that they are not neccessarily connected to The Pirate Bay.
11.18 Ola Salomonsson has stated his case. Next up is Peter Althin, representing Peter Sunde Kolmisoppi.
11.19 According to Peter Althin, Peter Sunde has not had the kind of responsiblity for The Pirate Bay that the prosecutor is claiming. Without going into detail, Althin says that the invoices displayed by the prosecutor do not in any way tie Peter Sunde to The Pirate Bay.
- He will explain this very carefully at a later time, says Peter Althin.
The defense makes a comparison to a soccer fan submitting his opinion to his favorite team. In the same way, Peter Sunde has had opinions of The Pirate Bay, but that doesn't mean he can be held responsible for the site. Neither does the fact that Sunde has been the press contact for the site.
11.24 Ola Salomonsson interrupts to point out that the agreements shown by the prosecutor do not neccessarily mean that any company has been founded on The British Virgin Islands - something that was brought up yesterday.
11.26 Per E Samuelsson, Carl Lundströms defense attorney, is stating his case.
11.28 Samuelsson brings up the fact that the prosecutor has said that The Pirate Bay is not on trial, but separate individuals. But Samuelsson has not heard the prosecutor say a word about Carl Lundström. According to him, the trial is more about principles of criminal law rather than copyright.
- To convict someone for assisting in a crime, you have to be able to connect the defendant to the act of assisting. But the prosecutor hasn't even been able to do this when stating his case, says Samuelsson.
He continues with bringing up the EU directive 2000/31 about e-commerce. There, too, it says that a service for information transfer shall not be held responsible for the content. This means that the four people claimed to be behind The Pirate Bay shall not be held responsible. The people who have uploaded the works should.
The EU directive has become Swedish law through the Swedish e-commerce law, which has been brought up earlier in the trial. The law states that one can't demand that the supplier of an information transfer service should know what the information contains.
- It's like if there was child porn on Blocket [a Swedish site similar to Craigslist]. Of course, the owners of Blocket wouldn't be held responsible, but the one who submitted the material, says Samuelsson.
- The prosecutor has to be able to show that the defendants, on an individual level, have encouraged downloads. The prosecutor has not been able to do this.
11.37 The defense attorney brings up Carl Lundström's background - about his past businesses and how Lundström started broadband company Rix Telecom. There, Fredrik Neij got a job after meeting Lundström at a trade fair in Jönköping. But when Neij got the job, The Pirate Bay had already been started, Samuelsson says - a fact that according to the defense clearly shows that he [Lundström] doesn't have anything to do with the service.
Lundström met Gottfrid Svartholm Warg at a dinner in 2004. Svartholm Warg was running the company PRQ with Neij, and Lundström was interested in becoming a partial owner or buying the company. However, he pulled out for various reasons - and Samuelsson says that the relationship between Lundström and the others is stricly a business relationship.
11.44 Carl Lundström har had nothing to do with the printout [huh?] of The Pirate Bay included in the indictment, Samuelsson says. And he rejects any discussions about compensation.
- We will win this case purely on common criminal law. The alleged main crimes [the crimes TPB are charged with assisting] are consist of making a copyrighted work available, and when the prosecutor went through all the written evidence we could see who made each and every work available. There, you could trace an e-mail address and get in contact with this person, Samuelsson says and points to the fact that over 80 percent of the files on The Pirate Bay are not copyright-protected.
He continues by pointing out that the law says that a business connection can never constitute "assisting a crime". Neither can thinking about buying a company, he says. The connection between Carl Lundström and The Pirate Bay has been stictly a business relationship.
- That is the cornerstone of Carl Lundström's defense, Samuelsson says.
11.52 The third day of the trial is over. The negotiations will resume at 9 AM tomorrow morning.
There has been high drama on the second day of the Pirate Bay trial. Due to serious shortcomings in the prosecution evidence, around 50% of the charges in the case are going to have to be withdrawn. The defense describes it as a ’sensation’, seeing half of the charges being dropped on the second day.Click the link for the whole story.
The pirate wars have begun, and the defense is preparing for a long fight. The mood is both hopeful and uncertain. And cocky.
- This is dinosaurs making a sad and pathetic attempt at trying to hold on to the old ways, says attorney Per E Samuelsson.
Sweden's most attention-warranting trial has begun. PC för Alla has chatted with three of the four attorneys representing the defendants in the Pirate Bay trial starting today.
Per E Samuelsson, defending Carl Lundström, considers the case is obvious. He believes that the trial is not about copyright infringement, but that the prosecutor is trying to get at the infrastructure of the Internet. In his interpretation of the law, it's not possible to prosecute anyone for supplying items or online services that can be used in an illegal manner.
- All four will be acquitted. The law does not cover this, what our clients have done is not a crime. It's like charging BMW with assisting speeding offence because they market the fact that their cars can reach 250 km/h [about 155 mph], says Per E Samuelsson.
He doesn't mince words with his rivals in the courtroom, and advocates that the prosecution is an impossible attempt at stopping technical advances.
- The record and movie industries are fat cats who will end in a big belly flop. They're very vocal and will push 10-15 lawyers and world-famous gurus from London forward, but I think us four attorneys are winning this, says Per E Samuelsson.
He believes it's a political trial and that the advances cannot be stopped with criminal cases, that people have to find alternative ways so that consumers can get inexpensive movies while the creator gets paid.
- The technology is here to stay. If the record companies win, they'll still lose. They have to find a way to create a direct contact between the creator and the consumer. The proposals to add a fee to ISPs may be one way, says Per E Samuelsson.
[Caption: ] Pirates and defense. From the left: Gottfrid Svartholm Warg (Pirate Bay), Peter Sunde (Pirate Bay) and Peter Althin (Peter Sunde's defense attorney).
"I'm sure he'll be acquitted"
Peter Althin is also hopeful. He is sure his client Peter Sunde will be acquitted.
- I'm sure my client will be acquitted. Our opinion is that he is not responsible for The Pirate Bay in the way the prosecution states.
Will this go all the way to the Supreme Court?
- That's what you have to assume when it comes to something this new. But we're taking it one step at a time, says Peter Althin.
He's slightly sceptical to the fact that the verdict may change the legislation about file sharing.
- When I was in the parliament, I noticed that different parties have different opinions on the file sharing legislation. The legislators won't have to consider this verdict. We will have to think about this.
Ola Solomonsson, defending Gottfrid Svartholm Warg, is the attorney most hesitant to expecting an acquittal. He doesn't want to speculate, but expresses some doubt:
- It could go either way. We may succeed, or we may not. The verdict is not obvious, and these issues are not simple.
Ola Salomonsson and Per E Samuelsson both see some things that may put their clients at a disadvantage.
- Gottfrid is a man of few words. He's of the very firm opinion that he has not committed any crime, but he has to be more straight. I hope he will loosen up in court, says Ola Salomonsson.
"Cocky texts on The Pirate Bay"
Per E Samuelsson identifies another weak point in the case.
- There are certain cocky words on the site, encouraging crimes. If they could prove exactly who wrote them, it could be on the verge of being punishable. But I don't think they can, because the prosecutor has not mentioned them at all.
Another thing that might make it difficult for the defense attorneys is that they also have to deal with the enormous compensation that the 16 companies involved in the Pirate Bay case demand.
- I'm a criminal case lawyer, and I don't want to handle civil law cases with damage claims. We have tried to separate the issue of damages from the criminal trial, but the district court has refused. It's unreasonable that 75 percent of a criminal case is about civil law, says Ola Salomonsson.
However, Ola Samuelsson sounds very certain that the case will not reach the Supreme Court.
- I'm used to it. Even if this is a new issue, I don't think it will reach the SC, says attorney Ola Salomonsson.
PC för alla has repeatedly tried to reach Jonas Nilsson, who's defending Fredrik Neij, without success.
Prosecutor Håkan Roswall says he does not want to make any comments to the press.
The Pirate Bay's trial has become a happening. The press from around the world is there, as well as the blogs. And the pirate site's founders arrive in a pirate-themed bus.
There isn't much room for the general public. But around ten "tickets" were handed out to people who had turned up this morning, according to the district court's chief guard Thomas Östman. It was far from enough, and dozens of Pirate Bay fans are now in room 8 listening to an audio feed from the trial.
According to information to Mediabloggen some visitor's tickets were even sold on the black market this morning. 500 crowns [~$60] to be able to be part of the cirkus' first day in the district court. Like any given rock show...
Just after 9.00 AM, monday, the trial against four men with connections to the file sharing site The Pirate Bay begun. The verdict will set a precedent, and has garnered international attention. Media from all around the world is present in Stockholm's district court.
The trial was ajourned at 15.45, and will be resumed Tuesday (tomorrow), at 9.00 AM.
This morning, people were almost fighting for the seats in room 9 in Stockholm's district court. Now, the rows are relatively empty -- even though there is only three of them.
There have been many reports of the international attention, and there are several reports in foreign media. The attendence is not quite as good. Neighboring country Norway seems to have the most journalists on the scene. According to a reporter from Dagens Näringsliv, two of his colleagues are in Sweden to cover the proceedings. During yesterday's press conference, there were the occational English-speaking journalist. The rest are remarkably anonymous.
The afternoon has been considerably more calm than the morning, inside the courtroom as well as outside. During the break, several of the defendants were able to walk around freely, without being overly crowded by journlists with questions.
Carl Lundström may be the defendant who received the least attention today. He doesn't belong to the same group as the three others, and mostly keeps to himself.
Moreover, he won't say a word.
- My attorney loves to talk. I don't want to take that pleasure away from him, he told DN.se during the break.
The attorney he speaks of is named Per E. Samuelsson. But he has another one, Stefan Jevinger, expert on copyright. Upon being asked why he's the only one with two attorneys, he answers:
- I don't want to lose.
The court takes a break. Prosecutor Håkan Roswall announces that he's done with about half of the documented music downloads.
The prosecutor is still walking the court through the downloads, currently music.
The total is the works of 20 artist, nine movies and four computer/video games. Among the artists that have seen their work illegally downloaded are Backyard Babies, Joakim Thåström, Amy Diamond and Håkan Hellström.
The Pirate Bay is considered the Internet's largest place for downloads of movies, music, games and application. Between 22 and 25 million people use the site's so-called tracker service that connects the file sharers.
Prosecutor Håkan Roswall shows the court how various file sharers can be tracked.
Among other things, he shows the audience that at a certain point in time, 81 people made the movie "Den svaga punkten" available. An additional eleven people had parts of the work on their computers, making these available.
Another one of Roswall's examples is the movie "Mastermind".
The prosecutor shows the amount of downloads, at one point 4,137. He also has screenshots from some downloads. He shows how the torrent technology works in practice.
Prosecutor Håkan Roswall is trying to establish charge number two: Assisting in copyright infringement.
Prosecutor Håkan Roswall talks about the Pirate Bay raid:
- All in all we confiscated about 195 computers. After this, the police have been going through these and found, among other things, e-mail, he said.
The e-mail will be brought up later in the proceedings.
Håkan Roswall rejects the claim that this is "the first time in the world" that the bittorrent technology is being brought up in court:
- That's not true. There's a verdict in Finland from 2008. I'll be getting to that case later.
The trial is resumed.
Break for lunch. The trial will resume at 13:00.
Sunde is brought into the picture when the site is being rebuilt. Among other things, more search functions will be added.
- Now, I'm not saying that Peter Sunde did all the programming himself. But it's being supervised by him, says the prosecutor.
The new, updated and more modern site is launched in 2005.
On July 1st 2005, Swedish law is changed to make it illegal to download copyright-protected files from the Internet. According to the prosecutor, Carl Lundström among others are aware of this.
The prosecutor is now describing his view of the development of The Pirate Bay (TPB).
- According to some archives, the adderss became visible on the Internet for the first time on July 15th 2004, he says.
The company PRQ with contact Fredrik Neij is behind the site.
The site has also had legal activities, notes the prosecutor, implying that The Pirate Bay is not one of them.
At first, the site was small, but they wanted more users. In October of 2004, Fredrik Neij met Carl Lundström, who operated the company Rix Telecom, says the prosecutor. With his help, they can configure a larger number of computers.
- Lundström also supplies Neij and Svartholm Warg with two servers. Both are seized in the spring 2006 raid.
The prosecutor believes that Lundström initially saw himself as a sponsor. However, he would eventually own 40 percent of the company. According to the prosecutor, Svartholm Warg and Neij got 30 percent each.
The next feature: How The Pirate Bay's site works. Everyone's eyes are on the white screen behind Sunde/Althin.
"This is how you click", says a computer-like voice while showing what it looks like after clicking on the movie "Shark Tale". Statistics, information about torrent files etc. is shown.
The audience appears uninterested.
Time for a movie. Prosecutor Håkan Roswall demonstrates how The Pirate Bay actually works. The technology is not the simplest -- but important to understand in a case like this.
The participants took a 15 minute break. At least, kind of a break. In fact, there was probably more happening in the quarter out in the hallways than what has happened in the negotiations so far.
The defendants, with Sunde and Svartholm Warg in the lead, were crowded by media as usual.
Peter Sunde told DN.se that he has a good feeling about it all. He was a little nervous earlier today, but it has passed.
-- You can't be nervous all this time, he said, and admitted that he wasn't even sure about which day he will be heard by the prosecutor.
Attorney Peter Althin agreed. Thirteen days without breaks, a little too much in his opinion:
-- You need a little time to absorb everything.
Beyond that there was not much to say. Althin said "everything's moving along". Monique Wadsted, representing the big Hollywood companies, said the exact same thing.
The bigwigs were not the only ones to attract attention. The hallways swarm with young people dressed as pirates and, well, all kinds of stuff.
Coffee in a thermos bottle or not was definately the lowest common denominator. [meaning that the bigwigs did not have them, while pirates did]
The negotiations will take a 15 minute break.
The defense is contesting the sky high compensation amounts. For the first time, the mood is slightly dampened.
Carl Lundström's attorney Stefan Jevinger points out, among other things, that the defandants cannot be held responsible for all of the damage since there are other users who have enjoyed what the defendants are being held responsible for.
The defendants have said that the demands for compensation do not scare them.
During a press conference this Sunday, Gottfrid Svartholm Warg said "they are welcome to send an invoice". If he gets one, he will frame it and hang it on his wall.
Prosecutor Roswall describes the demands for compensation. There are a lot of numbers of different sizes. In the end, the district court will have to take a position on the 117 million crowns [about 13.5 million US dollars] that the industry demands as compensation for their lost revenue.
The defendant's attorneys contest the charges.
Peter Sunde's attorney, Peter Althin, says Sunde's plead is built on different grounds from Svartholm Warg and Neij's. Sunde has not been responsible for the organisation or operation of TPB, says Althin.
Carl Lundström's attorney, Stefan Jevinger, points out that the case is a case of criminal law -- not copyright. To supply a service -- that can be used illegally or legally -- is not illegal, says Jevinger. Even in the case of file sharing.
He also says that this is why Carl Lundström can't be held responsible for anything except what he has done himself. And he has had nothing to do with the web site TPB, he has only supplied a service to them.
Negotiations are being held in room 9, the largest room available to the district court. It has about 35 audience seats. There is also a live audio feed to room 8 where an additional 25 seats are available.
Still, a majority of the attendees won't fit, and have to wait outside.
The prosecutor is currently announcing the complete list of charges. The charges are based on the investigation report, a 1,400 page document excluding appendices.
Journalists and the public were let in first, after a bit of delay. Then came the defendants as well as prosecutor Håkan Roswall with companions. The atmosphere is slightly chaotic, yet calm. In the audience are journalists and bloggers -- many of them with a laptop.
After a series of procedural issues it was time for the issue of the day: the prosecutor states his case.
Prosecutor Håkan Roswall opens with stating that The Pirate Bay (TPB) is one of the world's largest Internet file sharing services. It is funded by ad revenues, and the four accused have knowingly and willingly been running TPB. As such, they have facilitated other people's infringement.
Just after 8:30 AM, three of the defendants, Fredrik Neij, Peter Sunde and Gottfrid Svarholm, arrived at Stockholm's district court.
They arrived in a pirate-themed bus, named S23K, which will serve as a place to meet for the people around The Pirate Bay and Piratbyrån.
The three were met by a large variety of media. Journlists from all around the world are currently gathered at Flemminggatan 14 in Stockholm. Bloggers and Pirate Party members also followed the men. However, the three and their attorneys soon disappeared in anticipation of the start of the trial.
Attorney Peter Danowsky, prosecutor Håkan Roswall and one of the defendants, Gottfrid Svartholm, comment the trial.
-- This is a huge and important copyright infringement case, but it's not a political case as some claim, says attorney Peter Danowsky, one of the industry representatives, on his way into the courtroom.
Prosecutor Håkan Roswall has decided not to comment on the case for the duration of the trial.
One of the defendants, Gottfrid Svartholm, discusses the huge attention with TT:
-- It's a bit over the top. Maybe it would've been enough with one camera. But we're going to win this, at least at the highest authority.
Upon being asked if losing will result in any large consequences, Svartholm answers:
-- No, not for filesharing on the net in any case.
Outside Stockholm district court, among the people demonstrating in support of The Pirate Bay, is Krister Lindberg.
-- I'm here to show my support, and I think it's the issue of democracy that's the most important, not the file sharing issue itself, says Lindberg who is of the opinion that there are large risks that the freedom on the net will be reduced while restrictions increase.
With the help of our friends at Bambuser, we will broadcast our press conference live and direct!
For you who do not have the opportunity to attend us in person check out our live broadcast from the press conference. Here you will have the opportunity to ask questions through the integrated chat directly to us during the press-conference and we will try to answer as many questions as possible.
Apparently we’ve created a buzz [1, 2, 3 (swedish)] about the fact that we exclude some parts of the media from interviews and the press conference. This is why we choose to do this:
This is what we are up to atm
The National Museum of Science and Technology called both yesterday and today, wanting to put one of our early TPB servers on display. Art or history? Maybe both!
2003: The Pirate Bay is started
The Pirate Bay is created by people active in the lobby organisation Piratbyrån [lit. The Piracy Bureau], that wants to change copyright and claim to defend the free* exchange of information and culture on the Internet. On The Pirate Bay, the visitors can find and download files, for example movies or music, using something called torrents. Torrents work by downloading the files in small pieces that can be fetched from several differenet computers connected to the site. When The Pirate Bay begin their activities, the American movie and music industries are already fighting the illegal file sharing.
2005: Sweden's laws become harsher
It was already illegal to make copyright protected material available on the Internet. Now it's illegal to download it as well. The number of people participating in illegalities see a considerable increase overnight. The evidence proves to be complicated in file sharing cases. Since the law was taken into effect, only a few people have been sentenced for illegal downloading. The crime can result in a prison sentence, but so far there have only been fines.
Spring 2006: Sweden is pressured by the U.S.A.
The Pirate Bay's user base is steadily growing (according to the site, it passed 20 million in 2008). One factor is that broadband coverage is improving. In the U.S.A., industry organizations like the Motion Picture Association (MPA) which represents the movie and TV companies have been making progress in their fight against file sharing. Now they're setting their sights on Sweden. The Swedish Ministry of Justice is petitioned to take harsh action against The Pirate Bay. Swedish police and government representatives visit the U.S.A. American movie companies filed a report with the police. The Minister of Justice, Thomas Bodström, is in direct contact with the Prosecutor General and the head of the National Police Board.
May 31st, 2006: The Pirate Bay raid
The police strikes hard: 186 computers are seized from about ten different locations across Sweden. About 50 policemen are involved. Hackers retaliate by sabotaging goverment webpages. Just a few days later, The Pirate Bay is once again available from servers in other countries. The next day, SVT [Swedish public service television] expose that there had been discussions between the Swedish government and American authorities and industry representatives. The Minister of Justice, Thomas Bodström, is accused of ministerstyre**, that is, he tried to influence the Swedish authorities in a certain case, which is forbidden in the constitution. He is reported to The Committee on the Constitution. The events are also reported to the Parliamenary Ombudsman. After their investigations, both authorities decide to rule in favor of The Minister of Justice.
Summer 2006: File sharing goes political
Large demonstrations are held after the Pirate Bay raid. Amongst the ranks are followers of Piratbyrån and the newly formed Pirate Party side by side with representatives from the youth organisations tied to Folkpartiet, Vänsterpartiet and Miljöpartiet [three of the seven parties in Sweden's parliament]. The Pirate Party, participating in the election with demands of reformed copyright, achieve 0.63 percent of the votes in the autumn parliament vote. The file sharing issue causes internal conflicts in the parliament parties. It is obvious the issue will not fit in the traditional left-right axis.
Januari 31st 2008: The Pirate Bay is indicted
Four Pirate Bay representatives are charged with assisting and conspiring to break copyright law. There are very specific reasons for the charges being phrased like that. The difficulty facing prosecutor Håkan Roswall is that The Pirate Bay itself doesn't take part in up- or downloading. What the site does is to help users who want a certain file to get in contact with other people who have that file on their computers. The transfer itself is not routed through the site. Because of this, the way the case ends may be very significant for determining what is considered copyright infringement.
February 2009: The trial
The trial of The Pirate Bay starts on Monday, February 16th, in Stockholm's district court and is expected to go on until February 4th [this is probably a typo]. The situation is even more critical since the parliament is voting on the IPRED directive during this time. If the directive is passed, the ability to search for and find those who take part in illegal file sharing will increase significantly. You can read more about the new law here [Swedish].
Sources: DN, Wikipedia, SVT, Piratbyrån, Antipiratbyrån, Wired, Ny Teknik, Riksdagen.se
One of the jurors in the Pirate Bay trial that starts next week has had to leave his post. He was considered to have a conflict of interest and has been replaced by a new juror.
- Originally, three jurors were interviewed and some opinion was offered. Upon a question from me to the jurors about whether they are or have been members of any copyright association or anything of the like or if they've been artists, one of them said yes, said district court judge Tomas Norström, the chairman of the court in the Pirate Bay case.
Juror Lennart WestMan, (MP), who is a composer, confirms that he's had to leave the case. He is a bit disappointed.
- I guess there's a risk that the conflict of interest would be brought up when the case gets moving, but personally I feel there's no conflict. I do write and compose music as part of konstmusikfacket [lit. Art Music Union], but I don't do any of this downloading at all, says Westman.
The Pirate Bay trial, which is planned to run for thirteen days, will be broadcast live via SVT's web site.
Founders demand that the court choose another courtroom.
There is a risk that one of Sweden's largest political trials will be held in a room the size of a high school class room. The owners of file sharing site The Pirate Bay are announcing their demands in anticipation of the trial on February 16th: a new courtroom which holds at least 150 people and the possibility to broadcast the trial live.
This night, The Pirate Bay's press contact Peter Sunde leaked a mail from co-founder Fredrik Neij about the demands for the trial on his blog. In the email, which has also been sent to their lawyer Peter Althin, they want the room for the trial to be changed.
As it stands, the proceedings will be held in room 9 of Stockholm's district court where only 35-40 people will fit. Instead, the defendants want it to be moved to a larger one, with room for 20 seats for family and friends, as well as 80-100 seats for the press and the public.
In the mail, Neij writes:
"It's a threat to us and due process that they are going to limit the insight into the trial. 20 seats for the media, that only covers the established media, which is owned by our opponents."
Peter Sunde also wants reserved seats for bloggers, and that they are allowed to broadcast the trial live via Bambuser. On his blog, he writes:
"I also want us to put in a request to the court about broadcasting a live video stream via Bambuser for the whole duration of the trial. We want to show them how it's done. Playing with an open hand, everything should be transparent!"