back to article Pirate Bay convictions are legally insignificant outside Sweden

A court in Sweden has found the co-founders of file-sharing site The Pirate Bay guilty of copyright offences. Each of them has been sentenced to one year in prison. But while the ruling has symbolic significance outside Sweden, it has little legal significance. Peter Sunde, Carl Lundström, Frederik Neij and Gottfrid Svartholm …

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what about video sites?

they seem to profit from copyright infringing videos which make up a significant portion of sites, and YouTube isn't paying for its UK music content

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Pirate

Prepare for boarding, me young buckaroos?

"By Struan Robertson, editor of OUT-LAW.COM. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily represent the views of Pinsent Masons.

Copyright © 2009, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons."

And the law has made another complete ass of itself should anyone believe the above whenever it accompanies an opinion piece.

" "Will Google, for example, fall foul of copyright laws simply for returning a search result that links to a site that does not have permission to host copyrighted material?"

The answer is no. Mainstream search engines have nothing to fear. A crucial part of the case against The Pirate Bay was that the vast majority of content that people sought through the site was infringing copyright."

The answer is yes. And while it remains no is the judgement against the Pirate Bay null and void/a travesty/a banana* republican canned script* ..... and unsound.

* "If that was justice then I'm a banana." .... Ian Hislop

The Future belongs to Youth, not Old Fogies without the Foggiest Notion of what is Going On and Going Down.

And El Reg ..... that was a strange decision to make, so quickly ......... " Comments on this article are now closed" ... http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/04/17/piratebay_neonazi_ok/comments/

Things getting too hot ....or getting too close to the truth ... which always only sets one and all free from the tyranny of lies and subjective spin? Hell, nowadays are there no secrets, only fools who would deny knowledge and think they have power to control words and free speech.

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Anonymous Coward

Confusing me?

You say the conviction is legally insignificant outside Sweden and then go on to detail similar laws in other countries??

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Anonymous Coward

Are The Pirate Bay guys behind bars now?

Or do they get to stay out during the appeals process?

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Pirate

So what about the other sites

like mininova.org ? Surely they are just as guilty ?

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Go

The Gambler

"Read 'em and weep boys".

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Smells like

plain stupidity to me, on part of the prosecution that is, not to mention the entire legal system of Sweden.

We're going to hear more of this.

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Syd
Jobs Horns

Not Google but iTunes

The primary purpose of iTunes is to do something which is (technically) illegal - ripping CDs; so Apple *COULD* be sued under this precedent. (Which I would like to see, just because it would clarify things... but of course will never happen.)

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Ash
Stop

Swedish law != World law

Who'da thunk it?

Can someone please tell the US that the same applies to them?

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Paris Hilton

Your kidding!

"Google returns some links to infringing content "

Your kidding right, or your working for google.

I just put in Quantum of solace Torrent and got 410,000 results and the first 20 pages (i got bored after that) are almost all links to torrents or torrents sites linking to the download of the film.

The premise in law is not selective and if TPB are guilty of assisting copyright infringement in Sweden then so is every search engine on the web which hosts results for torrents.

Its easy for the RIAA to go after 4 people in a small country, but in the US where assisting copyright infringement is an offence why are they not going after Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and all the other search engines which make no effort to stop these kind of searches?

Paris, she has some links to infringing content

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Alert

Dodgy decision.

Rather like convicting a store owner of being an accessory to murder because his store sold the knife that was used to kill someone. No, not even that. It's like prosecuting a store owner who doesn't actually sell the knives, but has a flyer posted in the store with directions to stores that do sell knives.

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Choose a better name..

One mistake they made was naming the site as they did. Had they named it something more innocent sounding I think it would have made cases against them a lot harder, especially when being adjudicated upon by Computer User Non-Technical types.

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Anonymous Coward

What next?

What will the legacy media request next; maybe the death penalty? Will RIAA propose to hang hang offenders from a yardarm?

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Gaz
Thumb Up

Finally

some perspective on the issue! From kneejerk hysteria and disingenuous crap currently flying around you'd think someone had just killed Bambi...

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Paris Hilton

RE: So what about the other sites

I *think* that mininova et al would have less to worry about since they are a search engine, nothing more. I imagine the biggest deal was the TPB tracker. You generally find that mininova returns TPB tracker torrents.

The other's to worry would be torrentbox etc.

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Anonymous Coward

UK copyright law = fail

------

The primary purpose of iTunes is to do something which is (technically) illegal - ripping CDs; so Apple *COULD* be sued under this precedent. (Which I would like to see, just because it would clarify things... but of course will never happen.)

------

Only illegal in the UK where there's no "fair use" type policy that allows you to rip CDs to MP3s legally - so yes; Apple could theoretically fall foul of "inducing copyright infringement" in the UK - but then so could Microsoft (the "rip" feature in Media Player) or just about any other company that produces a media player.

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Anonymous Coward

@what about video sites?

Let's compare Apples and Chillis shall we.

Youtube is nothing like the Pirate Bay. Try an experiment, request youtube remove something that violates your copyright, and ask the Pirate Bay. See which one removes the content first.

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Happy

Generational conflict and reality check

young says: " LOOK, we can do cool things that are away of your control and you rules."

old says:" HOW YOU DARE???, i still can punish you or at least your vanguard."

young says:" Why instead to FIGHT us and make MARTYRS of our vanguard, don't you JOIN US?"

old says:" NO, YOU ARE WRONG (AND A CRIMINAL) WE ARE RIGHT, WE FOLLOW THE RULES, OUR RULES."

young says:" just a question: ARE YOU IMMORTAL?"

old says:" kid, i know that i am not immortal but MY RULES SHOULD BE."

young says:"LOL."

old says:" What?"

young says" EXACTLY."

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Google search says:

226,000,000 "torrents", the first page mentions all the big torrent guys.

TPB guys are just the small fish in a big pond (bay)

Eat the suits!

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Google

So, if I have this right, the Pirate Bay founders have been convicted of a _criminal_ offence. So that means that any/all other offenders will also be brought to trial in relatively short order. Which obviously includes Google, MSN, Yahoo etc.

Either that, or the police aren't doing their job right...

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Stop

Stopping being stupid

Something call The *PIRATE* Bay isn't set up primarily to distribute illegal content?? Oh grow up!

What percentage of Google's (et al) searches return legal content, and what illegal? And what percentage of TPB's?

And yes, I use TPB myself to grab copies of either stuff I want to 'test drive' (not yet found an app which I've downloaded I've then wanted enough to buy!), or mp3s of albums I've already got on vinyl. But I'm honest enough to accept that what I'm doing is (currently) illegal, and not try to make some Little-Guy-Against-The-Corporates bullshit ideology out of it.

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Anonymous Coward

Article is wrong, comments are misguided.

It wasn't TPB that was taken to court. It was the operators of TPB. TPB has never been under threat because the tech is kosher. The operators have been found guilty because they made the Pirate Bay's facilities available to 'pirates' by not removing torrents of copyrighted works.

Mininova is not at threat because:

A: They are not Swedish.

B: They respond to the entertainment industry's take-down notices.

Personally I think the whole music distribution industry is dying. Governments need to reallise it's not an industry that humans depend on, and not deserving of laws to protect it.

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Google Linking

If you know the correct -INURL string to type into Google it very easily returns directory listings of sites containing MP3 files or whatever you're searching for.

Much quicker and easier than using a torrent client.

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So almost any media capture device is illegal then?

"one who distributes a device with the object of promoting its use to infringe copyright, as shown by clear expression or other affirmative steps taken to foster infringement, is liable for the resulting acts of infringement by third parties."

OK, so all that MP3 management software, it encourages people to rip CDs. All the DVD and VHS recorders. What Sky boxes? They allow you capture broadcasts for later viewing, they actively encourage you make use that service to infringe copyright by "taping" movies and TV shows!

MP3 players, bit grey there, you can buy legal MP3s from iTune et al, so I'll keep out of that whole argument for the moment.

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Is PirateBay down or is just me, or just my ISPs

See title

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Pirate

Hmmm...

"In the UK, there is no law against contributory copyright infringement"

www.piratebay.co.uk anyone?

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Paris Hilton

apples and chillis

"Youtube is nothing like the Pirate Bay. Try an experiment, request youtube remove something that violates your copyright, and ask the Pirate Bay. See which one removes the content first."

You obviously have no idea what you are talking about. Pirate Bay does not have content so CAN not remove it. They might make a mockery out of the request - but still the fact is - there is no copyrighed content at the Pirate Bay.

Compare to Google instead: What you are suggesting is similar to ask that Google should REMOVE webpages which contain copyright material. This may be difficult for you to understand but Google CANNOT remove any webpages which they themselves do not control. Perhaps you think that Google takes away links to copyrighted material - do you even know how a search engine works? Or do you know how to use one? Google might respond "positively" to some request from the RIAA as to "remove" some unique link? Yes, perhaps, but when? And how many "other" links do they have to the same material which are not removed? As far as I can see it the only real difference between Google and TPB is promoted attitude - no difference in real world activity!

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Alien

Re Generational conflict and reality check

Well said, Daniel Garcia. [Posted Monday 20th April 2009 11:42 GMT] The case in a nutshell.

The Future is not ours so old rules of the Past for the Present are not for us to apply when we think of what is Better for the Future. And Everyone with ready access to as much paper money as they need is a sensible start, and oh so easy to provide and thus eradicate poverty in as simple Change of Banking regime from Collection and Retention to Provision and Supply ...... Free Flow of Currency to Energise and Oil Creative Industry and Productive Farming and Phorming of Intellectual Property.

The Hoarders of Wealth are the Problem for Currency Flow is the Solution as we all Know...... so who's stopping the Flow. And what is their Reason other than it gives them an Instant and Perverse Absolute Power over Billions of Lives?

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Anonymous Coward

Eventually the laws will catch up with the criminals

It has taken time for the laws to catch up with cybercrime in many countries but Sweden has finally woken up. Long prison sentences and stiff fines are a good deterrent to piracy. It won't eliminate all piracy, but it will get some sleaze off the streets. Building new prisons to house these pirates is a good social work program. The only good pirate is one that is in prison or dead.

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Happy

@amanfromMars

The hoarders of Wealth are Sons and Fathers of Scarcity. Any Sub-reality where Scarcity has been Canceled is Alien and Heretic in their eyes.This is beyond simple desire of Domination(TM). They always think that in order to win, some else must lose.

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Pirate Bay verdict Cartoon

Watch my Cartoon and take on the pirate verdict

http://www.pcdisorder.com/2009/04/pirate-bay-walks-plank.html

David Miron

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Pirate

@AC "apples and chillis" 13.04

Ho! back at you! You have just made the fatal mistake of not knowing what you are talking about there sir: The Pirate Bay can remove their torrent, but not the content behind the torrent. Youtube CAN remove the content, so therefore Youtube is nothing like TPB - heh, you've just shot down your own argument. TPB will not remove their torrents for anyone unless it's blatantly bad (we're talking the produce of the bad side of humanity here), Youtube will remove the content if it think it violates their kosher list (and sometimes when it's notm, and they just don't like it). So the AC "@what about video sites?" is technically correct.

As for the TPB operators being ballzed - it STINKS!

Rule Brtiannia, i say, Rule Britannia - I heartily (and drunkedly on Rum) condone the idea of a .co.uk site!

Ahoy m'hearties!

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Happy

RE:Eventually the laws will catch up with the criminals

TROLLING MUST YOU NOT,YOUNG PADAWAN!

my fiver, please...

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Pirate

apples and chillis 2

"Ho! back at you! You have just made the fatal mistake of not knowing what you are talking about there sir: The Pirate Bay can remove their torrent, but not the content behind the torrent. Youtube CAN remove the content, so therefore Youtube is nothing like TPB - heh, you've just shot down your own argument"

I said what???

I did say that TPB can not remove the CONTENT just like Google can not remove content on other peoples websites.... I did not mention Youtube exactly because Youtube hosts content and so is different from both Google (which I did mention) and TPB.

as for the "AC @what about video sites" that comparision is inadequate and technically wrong exactly because TPB does not have any content to remove in the first place - which makes the proposal to compare who takes down any content first a rather moot point...

... shooting yourself in the foot and all that...

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Stop

Selective and Patronizing Article

What is this author "editor" going on about in this article? Pretending to be "neutral" and "commonsensical"? Why are we being told that this conviction is legally insignificant outside of Sweden? Is the conviction legally significant in Sweden? What is the point?

And then the speculation on Google? Where are the arguments? What does the author mean with "Google returns some links to infringing content". How many does the author think is "some"? Is hundreds of thousands acceptable as "some"? Is a million acceptable as "some"? What is the point made?

The author does not define what is meant with "infringing content"? Does this matter? What with material legally hosted on servers for one particular audience but then accessed by one not intended? So is this also "infringing content"?

Also was the case not about the "linking to content" and NOT about "number of links to infringing content"? To suggest that mainstream search engines have nothing to fear is an opinion based on exactly what "argument"? To refer to the different examples from different countries where different legislation was applied in different circumstances is clear as mud. The reference to civil and criminal law being made in passing by the author is an achievement but does not substantiate the opinion.

Does the author suggest that the TPB lost because of their attitude and only because of their attitude? And does the author conclude that it is a good thing that TPB lost because of their attitude - as no other reason could be identified?

"The case against The Pirate Bay, on the other hand, was that infringement was core to the site's business model. The operators were accused of profiting from adverts that made them money due to the popularity of infringing movies, music and software to which they were providing a gateway."

The author demonstrates a complete lack of balance and insight with this strand of opinion pretending to be an argument. Compare to old school TV and Video: The case against video cassettes and recorders. Infringement was core to the manufacturers business model. The manufacturers could be accused of profiting from the technologies due to the popularity of infringing movies etc to which they provide the recording solutions. So what exactly is new except that TPB has fewer solicitors in employment than the technology industries had? Or would the author be lamenting with great sadness the fact that the RIAA lost their "case" against the technology industry a long time ago?

"In the UK, there is no law against contributory copyright infringement; but there is a law against authorising infringement".

There is no law and it is not an offence. It is not illegal so by definition it is not a crime. This also means that contribution to infringement is an exercise in circular reasoning as it does not represent an infringement. Old school TV and Radio is also an activity which is contributory copyright infringement with the reasoning exemplified by the author.

"The entertainment industry is prepared to assert its rights aggressively and most people knew that before today. "

The author is stating this as if it is obvious that the rights asserted by the entertainment industry are the same as those they actually have. First it is not true that all rights asserted by the industry are rights that they have. Second the rights available in one country do not translate unproblematically to every other country. Third knowing the aggressive behaviour of the industry does not mean that people expect the courts to follow suit.

"Common sense says that when you build a site like The Pirate Bay, you are playing with fire. Whether you're taken before a civil court or a criminal court, you're probably going to get burned."

Is the author suggesting that common sense is that if you do something that a big organisation does not like you will be taken to court and "get burned" no matter what it is about? Well it may very well be common sense to know that if you go against a big aggressive player you will get burned - but (perhaps naively?) not everyone will believe that it is the size of the player determines the outcome of the court?

"So the deterrent was already in place."

Deterrent for what? Challenging the big and the rich? Raising politically inconvenient opinions? Because if "todays ruling will not affect most intermediaries" - then the author should remind us readers - what exactly is the ruling a detterent for? Illegal filesharing? But the ruling was not about illegal filesharing - as there were no files illegally shared by TPB.

Is it a deterrent for running technology solutions which might prove unpopular among established companies? Is it a deterrent to run companies with attitude? Is it a deterrent for development of torrent technology (not likely)? Also it is still possible that TPB might still turn out to be a perfectly legal business in Sweden and elsewhere. Wishful thinking and a result of a temporary cultural fad perhaps. However it is not yet impossible and there is a political movement supporting this activity in Sweden which at the moment is still growing.

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Flame

@Eventually the laws will catch up

"It has taken time for the laws to catch up with cybercrime in many countries but Sweden has finally woken up. Long prison sentences and stiff fines are a good deterrent to piracy. It won't eliminate all piracy, but it will get some sleaze off the streets. Building new prisons to house these pirates is a good social work program. The only good pirate is one that is in prison or dead."

Normally something is a crime when it is defined as illegal. Making something legal or illegal is not by definition universally good or bad. What is good and legal in one country is viewed as unsavoury and bad in another.

In some cultures pictures of human faces are viewed as a crime. In such environments a face on a webpage would be viewed as an example of a cybercrime. In this example using your logic would suggest that people are criminals if they have pictures with faces on their webpages. As a consequence countries who are allowing such pictures are examples of countries where the laws have yet to catch up.

I do not think that Sweden has "woken up" - I think that you have let yourself be misled in thinking that this issue with TPB is an example of "waking up". It appears much more to be a result of a long and ongoing push by a US-led lobby to try to force Sweden to accept a biased interpretation of copyright which is not even accepted in the USA...

As to your confusion of the case with piracy - this confusion is understandable - but the court case did not deal with piracy. The case did also not deal with copyright infringement. The case did not deal with illegal filesharing. You have obviously read into it stuff which are not present. The case however did deal with promotion of copyright infringement by some of the individuals behind TPB.

The law, as you obviously have missed the point with the case: This case did not show that TPB is illegal and the servers of TPB may very well continue to be run LEGALLY.

Perhaps the law need to catch up with cybercrime, but not necessarily the way you might think or even in Sweden...

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Eschew expense

The answer to rapacious sellers is to avoid their goods. This wounds them, if enough to do, and in this case, does the erstwhile consumer no harm.

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Anonymous Coward

Block ALL torrent sites

Quote from ac@ "The premise in law is not selective and if TPB are guilty of assisting copyright infringement in Sweden then so is every search engine on the web which hosts results for torrents."

Agreed. So let Google and search engines block any links to torrent sites unless the sites have adopted a policy of discouraging piracy. Fair censorship of the internet. It is not difficult for a legitimate trorrent site to block users IP addresses for repeated violations. If a copyright holder asks the torrent sites to remove any link to their product name, failure to do so should be a criminal offence. FIGHT PIRACY. It is destroying digital industries.

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Ian

Flawed analysis.

One of the key points in the trial was that the music industry failed to prove that the majority of content shared on The Pirate Bay was illegal. They outright admitted that they couldn't state either way how much of the content was illegal, only that some of it was.

Therefore the premise in the article, that other search engines such as Google only index a minority rather than a majority of illegal content is flawed, and hence the conclusion that Google et al. are safe is also flawed.

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Boffin

@apples and chillis 2

I think he/she (but assuming it's a "he" of the loosest term) meant that, just didn't communicate it very well, like a cretin "he" is ;o)

".torrent" files can be removed, but content behind the torrent file can't - can we all agree on that?

TPB and Google are similar. YouPor.. sorry, YouTube isn't a particularly good argument, therefore scrap it from the thread.

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Anonymous Coward

@ignoramus

"If a copyright holder asks the torrent sites to remove any link to their product name, failure to do so should be a criminal offence. FIGHT PIRACY. It is destroying digital industries."

This is an excellent example of an argument based on ignorance of the foundation of the western society. Following this advice is a definitive exercise in destroying any foundation for a democratic society.

Just in case the author still would not understand:

*** accusation is on its own not satisfactory as evidence of a criminal offence ***.

FIGHT STUPIDITY. Its destroying our society!

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Boffin

AC@08:54

"The premise in law is not selective and if TPB are guilty of assisting copyright infringement in Sweden then so is every search engine on the web which hosts results for torrents"

But

Google is *not* hosted in Sweden (AFAIK) so Swedish laws do not apply to it. Only search engines which are hosted in Sweden (I recall a something crawler being hosted in one of the Scandinavian countries but I think it's Norway) *might* be affected. I believe for legal purposes the question is where is the company's registered head office.

Now if assisting copyright infringement is illegal in the US (as other posters have claimed it is) then they should go after Google as well. Google would be in trouble right now if its registered head office is in Sweden, but I'm pretty sure it isn't. IANL.

To be honest if your going to set up a site like this the first question is not the tech. Its checking the international laws to find the most friendly country to set the company up in. In principle the servers could still be in Sweden although remote admin could be good enough to run a dark data centre in the country. I guess they thought Sweden was a Neutral country so that was not needed. That was a mistake. Not that I'm advocating assisting copyright infringement, which is a criminal offence in Sweden.

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Re: Dodgy Decision

>> Rather like convicting a store owner of being an accessory to murder because his store sold the knife that was used to kill someone. No, not even that. It's like prosecuting a store owner who doesn't actually sell the knives, but has a flyer posted in the store with directions to stores that do sell knives.

Not really. More like the store owner had a window full of posters, 90% of which were directions to places which sold shotguns without records or checking the customers shotgun certificate. And then charging him in relation to assisting the illegal sale/purchase of the shotgun.

Although, I doubt the above would get you a year in prison and a multi million pound fine - even if the shotgun was later used in a murder.

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