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back to article Pirate Bay verdict: Three operators lose appeal

Three men who were found guilty of being accessories to breaching copyright laws in The Pirate Bay trial in April 2009 today lost their appeal against the ruling in a Swedish court. Peter Sunde, Carl Lundström, Fredrik Neij saw their prison sentences reduced in the Svea Court of Appeal in the past few minutes. However, the men …

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Big Brother

WTF?

A £4 million fine??

Why are courts all over the world treating copyright infringement as more serious than mass rape, mass murder, or violent revolution?

If violent revolution is attracting much lighter penalties - and also offering the possibility of success, perhaps it's an option worth considering...

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More serious...

Perhaps because its affecting thousands of folks livelihoods not just a few?

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Bronze badge

Fine?

"A £4 million fine??"

Who (except you) mentioned a fine? A fine is a sentence. They didn't get a financial sentence, they got a custodial sentence. Damages are, if you like, compensation - or rather in a case like this putatitive compensation.

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Pirate

Perhaps because it's affecting the profits of the big corporations

- there, fixed it for you.

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Anonymous Coward

Err...

I'm not aware that a fine is ever a punishment handed down for rape.

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@Grease Monkey

"The TPB four were handed one-year prison sentences and hefty fines for their involvement in the running of the infamous BitTorrent tracker site last year."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Err...

In various jurisdictions crimes are punished with damage demands alongside the usual jail term for the perpetrator. In fact, this is quite probably done in Sweden routinely given that other Scandinavian countries do it.

Consider your awareness boosted.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC re:err

I consider myself more aware... I wonder if this money is in punishment or restitution, or both? Presumably there is also a rather large jail term.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC re:err

"I consider myself more aware..."

Great!

"I wonder if this money is in punishment or restitution, or both? Presumably there is also a rather large jail term."

I guess "restitution" is the most accurate translation. And yes, there's usually a jail term, potentially large, depending on what the perpetrator did.

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Anonymous Coward

Damages

Imagine the damages payment in these terms. Imagine a company who decided that VAT was unfair and decided not to charge it to their customers. Sooner or later the VAT man would catch up with them and demand the VAT was paid. The customers would have got away without pay VAT, the vendor would not.

In the case of TPB nobody can really pretend the site was about anything other than copyright infringement, you wouldn't go round calling it thepiratebay if it was about legitimate file sharing would you. Futhermore their open letters to the recording industry (you know the ones saying "we're not breaking Swedish law") show that they not only knew their service was being used to facilitate copyright infringement, but were perfectly happy that it was. I think this is why the recording and film industries have gone after them rather than other torrent trackers search engines.

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Grenade

Ho Hum,

Cue the storm of freetard comments about this being a huge victory for TPB, and how these guys are delighted to be martyrd for their cause.

If they were happy martyrs, they wouldn't have appealed.

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Boffin

Re: Ho Hum

Freetards play pool?

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WTF?

@DannyAston

I hope you aren't suggesting that the use of the word "cue" is incorrect, because it isn't.

The use of the word "queue" in this context is a common mistake.

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Anonymous Coward

@AC

Maybe it's cue the queue of freetards?

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FAIL

Legal system hijacked by media industry

It's plain to see that the Swedish legal system has been hijacked by the media industry.

Typical fines dished out recently by the courts in Sweden..

Murder: 75000kr (£6825)

Rape of a 14 year old girl: 50000kr (£4550)

Pirate Bay fine for aiding Copyright infringment: 46000000kr (£4.1 million)

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Coat

And...

The knowledge that you've managed to completely destroy any sense of justice and equality before the law in the pursuit of shoring up a failed business model: Priceless.

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Brains of a Freetard...

So no custodial sentence for murder? Really?

Did you check your facts before posting, or are you out to prove you're a gullible freetard idiot. Music piracy does seem to turn people's brains to mush. "Freetard" is much too kind.

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Flame

Re: Brains of a Freetard...

"So no custodial sentence for murder? Really?"

So they didn't see fit to mention it. That doesn't diminish the point about damage claims. And I'm sure we've all read stories about lenient sentencing for violent crimes, so maybe someone could dig up a story about someone getting ten months for murder, especially if you consider the "net" sentence actually served (as opposed to the "gross" sentence mentioned in the courtroom).

Wouldn't want to prove that point now, though, would we?

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Stop

@ Legal system hijacked by media industry

Incorrect, IMO.

Media industry hijacked JOE BIDEN, who didn't have anything to do as V-P.

Then JOE BIDEN had a long chat with his friend BARACK OBAMA who thought this was a Good Thing.

Then the U.S. GOVERNMENT went around the world strong arming (aka diplomacy) everyone else into doing what IT wanted rather than the people of those countries.

And you wonder why people hate the U.S. Government (not the people) so much? Just as well not everyone has a convenient AK47 or an IUD to hand.

Just so a handful of privileged Hollywood characters can have a better time.

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Grenade

So, all things equal under law et al ...

if that's the fine for TPB and its operators - then what would the fine be for Google, whose search index indubitably can cause much more infringing damage and potential than a listing of a few torrents ... oh wait, I forgot - Google is big enough to fight off any legal/criminal challenge and therefore, will remain unmolested ...

Anon/Grenade, take a wild guess why.

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Pint

Exactly!

I remember putting "warez" and "appz" into Google back in 1999 and getting so many listings to choose from! No idea, but I shouldn't think much has changed in the last decade.

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@The Fuzzy Wotnot

To be fair though, finding warez and appz isn't Google's sole or main reason for existing, or presumably even more than a tiny part of their traffic.

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Anonymous Coward

Or...

Maybe it's because Google et al take down links to copyright material when requested to do so, rather than telling the people who ask for them to be taken down to "fuck off". Also there is the small matter of TPB running the torrent trackers on their servers.

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Unhappy

Not like the olde days ...

they would have keel hauled them, likely causing their deaths.

Still, thanks guys for making Bittorrents of now now existent recordings available. Much appreciated.

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Illegality not yet confirmed

The illegality of what they did has not yet been confirmed. They are appealing this verdict. There is still one higher court to appeal to in Sweden and they have already said they will take this to the European Court if necessary.

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@AC

Possibly, though I guess if The Industry was looking in the long term to maybe take more action against infringing consumers, they may have to try (and visibly fail) using other legal means first, in order to put a 'something must be done' case to politicians, or to bolster a public case for doing something else.

It may be easier (or they may think it may be easier) to sell an argument for going after individuals if they can say that all other options have been tried and have failed.

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Unhappy

yeah but

now the record industry has a scapegoat, when EMI fail. It wasn't their incomptence, greed, and shortsightedness ... it was the pirates !

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indeed

the 'win' is the lawyers of course, not the industry. No matter how the industry profits collapse, the lawyers are getting well paid... and more than ever before!

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@ Illegality not yet confirmed

Sorry, you are wrong. If they had been found NOT GUILTY they would not be appealing their conviction and sentence.

If they absolutely nothing the police would arrest them and return them to jail.

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FAIL

In other news, King Canute appears to have

failed again.

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@AC

I take it you are aware that in the relatively original versions of the story, King Canute wasn't actually expecting the tide to stay away, but was demonstrating publicly that he didn't have the power to stop it by just waving at it.

What do you actually think is the likeliest position of the music companies -

a) They're all so dumb that they think they can actually stop (or significantly slow) filesharing by taking occasional action against the odd torrent tracker.

b) They're doing something in the expectation that it might/would fail, but reckoning that demonstrating failure might prove a point, or open the door to other possibilities.

Thing is, even if a) is actually the case, and they've sought (or listened to) no technical advice, and they haven't actually bothered to read any of the coverage of the issue, having failed to stop file sharing, unless they don't realise they've failed, the interesting thing is still what they might try next.

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Joke

still

they whine and bleat on that piracy is killing the music industry but to date, album sales have been higher than they ever have been....

the movie industry is as profitable as ever.....

the games industry is making masses of money.. black ops took more than £200M in the first day in the UK and US alone....

joke alert, because thats what the media companies are...

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Thumb Up

Yup.....

Old farts like me remember the music industry going ape over the cassette tape in the 1970's & 1980's.

Ubiquitous stickers proclaiming "Home taping is killing music"

It wasn't & it didn't.

Plus ça change...

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Pirate

Just a minor setback.

Just like Napster, this is only a minor setback to the pirate sub-culture. No matter how many sites are taken down, there will always be one more to take up the torch. History has proven that time and time again.

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Pirate

If the car industry ...

.. .had done what the music is business is doing, we'd be driving around in T-Ford clones on dirt roads and anyone trying to change (or improve or advance or innovate) the system would be prosecuted for "infringing on the industry's success and business model"

Feh.

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@AC

I'm not sure anyone's saying no-one can set up a music business of their own, as long as they don't sell/give away things that don't belong to them.

In any case, surely the 'product' of the music industry isn't a business model, but music, and for all its faults, there is at least a continual supply of music. Last time I looked, we weren't still all stuck with wind-up gramophones playing 78s of Marie Lloyd and Enrico Caruso.

As far as I can see, it's far easier now that it has ever been for someone to set up their own label. There's nothing stopping someone recording their own music and giving it away, or selling mp3s for a token sum.

There's the whole wide wonderful web2.0 world waiting out there to publicise them in.

So if it's such a good business model, and generates better returns for artists, presumably people are just flocking to the wonderful new improved innovatory way of doing things?

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Anonymous Coward

downloading = consumer choice

As someone else has pointed out, the industry is enjoying larger profits. Also another thing to note, which is true for a majority of "freetards" they buy more media than other people.

Any music I have downloaded that I like, I buy the original because I prefer to have a hardcopy with the sleeve notes, cover design etc.

If I am going to spend £15 on a band, I at least want to make sure that I will like the majority of the album and not just one song, so I see downloading as a try before you buy. I always felt ripped of buying an album that ultimately sucked but now I can download them, try them out and if I like them then I have no problem passing cash for the original.

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Pirate

Absolutely.

I do the same, download new albums from TPB and other places, listen to them once or twice, then delete the download and buy the album if I like it enough to continue listening to it. This has resulted in me buying a load more albums than I would otherwise have done - ten years back I had pretty much stopped buying any music, then easy downloading came along and now I buy a couple of albums a month.

Yet apparently I'm a criminal for doing so. Go figure....

GJC

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Anonymous Coward

Too Bad

It would have been so much better if these criminals had been given a five year prision sentence and a three million Euro per person fine.

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Anonymous Coward

I agree.

The corrupt politicians, prosecution, judge and pretty much the entire roster of scummy asshats who work for the major labels should have been given a five year prison sentence and a three million Euro per person fine.

One pair of each per person for every single innovation in distribution and business model enhancement they've turned down out of fear or prejudice. Another pair per person each for every single individual persecuted in the vain hopes that their fear mongering campaign will work.

You want witches to burn? It’s not the pirates you should be looking at. It’s the folks who have prevented the explosion of content distribution over the net. There are ways to ensure licences are respected, purchases are tracked and content is made available to all. It simply requires that these greedy bastards work together (to do things like create centralised registries for content) and give up on stupid shite that does nothing but alienate their customers (region locking/non-global launches of media.)

Criminals? The bastards in charge of the content mafia! We should have had a global registry of all content a decade ago. Every rightsholder (starting with the majors) registering what they own, when it expires, what the licence restrictions are for use. It should be simple and cheap for creators of new content to register. Distribution channels (such as iTunes, Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, etc.) should have flourished a decade ago with access to this central repository of content. Market pressures should have driven content towards more liberal licence models.

We would have internet radio that isn’t crippled but instead is playing classic songs right along side great new hits without the operators having to worry every single day if they are going to disappear under a cloud of lawyers. Consumers would be able to log onto a central website, select a movie, TV show, music track, book or what-have-you and enjoy it on any device using any connection in any country at any time they choose. Streaming/download-and-transfer/free-with-commercials…these options should all be available for everything.

We should be looking at a revolution for content creators: the beginning of a world without the /requirement/ for middlemen. (Though middlemen could still have a place, if they offered something of value.) More importantly, we should be experiencing a revolution for content /CONSUMERS/. We should finally be able to effect change in the types of content produced. Our choices as peoples of this world should be having direct, measurable impacts on the financial futures of rightsholders; if we don’t like what they produce we won’t consume it. No more limited choices because some bull**** Neilson ratings tell the media companies to only invest in A, B, C or X, Y and Z.

Adapt or die! Supply the market or someone else will!

Instead, these CRIMINALS have played the political game to the detriment of everyone involved; the content creators, the consumers and ultimate even themselves. In the end, the majors will fall. They will do a lot of damage and screw up the lives of a lot of people on their way down…but fall they will. Not because of piracy – but because of arrogant short-sightedness and greed.

The only questions left are many people the flailing giant will hurt…and how many more years it will hold all of society back?

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Nurse! A zombietard has escaped

I could pick anyline out of your deranged zombie rant, but the first is as bad as any:

"The corrupt politicians, prosecution, judge and pretty much the entire roster of scummy asshats who work for the major labels should have been given a five year prison sentence and a three million Euro per person fine."

Indie labels were ripped off equally. Music publishers were ripped off. The creators were ripped off the most - not a penny from the Swedish rich kids. Everybody along the chain was ripped off by Pirate Bay.

The idea that people who work hard and help deserving artists make a living are "CRIMINALS" just shows your twisted dead-end view has nothing to offer. You know nothing and understand nothing.

But keep getting angry and beating off. It beats learning something.

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Re: Nurse! A zombietard has escaped

"The idea that people who work hard and help deserving artists make a living are "CRIMINALS" just shows your twisted dead-end view has nothing to offer."

So what about the extortion attempts made on behalf of the "content industry"? You know: "send us £500 or we'll take you to court for illegal downloading of 'Counter Undercover Nuclear Threat Force'" sent to Granny Smith and her pet cat Scrimpkins. Is that not criminal?

"It beats learning something."

It sure does. Try "learning" something that isn't written for you on the autocue by the "content industry": a bunch of people who seem to think that the legal system is an acceptable way of propping up legacy margins and legacy business models in perpetuity.

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@AC 13:51

>>"So what about the extortion attempts made on behalf of the "content industry"? You know: "send us £500 or we'll take you to court for illegal downloading of 'Counter Undercover Nuclear Threat Force'" sent to Granny Smith and her pet cat Scrimpkins. Is that not criminal?"

At best, it's incompetent, and if someone's knowingly threatening people they suspect may well be innocent, rather more serious than just incompetent, and quite possibly criminal.

However, let's not let anyone try to kid themselves that that actually has any bearing on the issue of the article.

TPB wasn't set up as a crusading organiastion on behalf of victimised non-filesharing cat-owning grannies, and the legality/illegality of what TPB is/was doing isn't changed in the slightest by the cack-handedness of any attempts to counter it.

Despite what some people want to pretend in order to feel better about themselves, the world isn't neatly divided into TPB supporters and Evil Industry Shills.

Many people, myself included, would happily condemn heavy-handed and ill-targeted enforcement actions while having little or no sympathy for the TPB guys.

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Anonymous Coward

@dave wilson

I never said that I had sympathy for the TPB guys. I said they weren’t criminals deserving of such harsh punishment. They were businessmen seeing an undersupplied (or let’s be honest, almost completely unsupplied) market and acting upon it. They were no more or less amoral than most businessmen – especially sharks like those which dominate the tech industry.

For any independent label that had actually tried to reach out to customers by embracing the new technologies available to them, I feel huge sympathy. Any artist, recording technician – even executive – of such an organisation have in my opinion a legitimate grievance against TPB. They were trying to reach out and meet the demands of their customers and what TBP did impacted them.

For any indie label who didn’t take advantage of the past fifteen years to join the twenty-first century – and for all majors – I have no sympathy whatsoever. They are no different in my mind that a technology company saying “you aren’t allowed to install that open source operating system on hardware you bought” They fit in the same mental category as telcos/cellcos/cablecos who won’t allow you to have updates to your smartphone because they want to “brand” the updates with “value added materiel.” These labels fit in with telecommunications providers who want the legal right to Skype because they have VOIP offerings or Netflix because they are a cableco.

What TPB did was wrong…but what the asshats in charge of the labels are doing is wrong as well. Two wrongs don’t make a right…and yet by handing victories like this to the pigopolists we are encouraging them to remain in the past. If you believe in the free market at all – even if, like me, you aren’t a die hard capitalist – then you must believe that innovation is what “the market” is all about. When companies reach the point that /PREVENTING INNOVATION/ provides them greater profits than /ACTUALLY INNOVATING/, something must be done.

We absolutely cannot count on our governments to do anything about it; they’ve been toothless and tame for decades. “The people” can’t do anything about it; these megacorporates murder competition in the face with an axe long before the average Joe or Jane becomes aware of their existence. If you want service A then you have one choice and you accept the stagnation that supporting the megopolists brings.

Listen; TPB was wrong…but at the same time they represent the only method of crying out against these sorts of megopolists that regular people have. You could say some bulls**t about “you can vote, or write your MP.” It’s tosh, all of it. Voting doesn’t do anything and writing your MP gets put in the bin. Canadian politicians – a country of 31 million or so – are on record for saying that any citizen protests or letter drives are meaningless unless “at least five million people are involved.” That’s one example amidst many. Our opinions don’t count unless over 15% of a nation’s total population takes to the streets?

If you want this individual to feel any sympathy whatsoever for the majors – or do anything other than cheer TPB and their ilk on – then you tell me of a method in which regular citizens can make their voices heard that doesn’t involve actions like piracy.

Money is all these greedy bastards understand. So to hell with them – until they actually listen to their customers they aren’t getting a red cent of mine.

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@AC

>>"I never said that I had sympathy for the TPB guys."

I know *you* didn't say it, but there are certainly people around here with a black/white view of reality (and a funny view of time) who would see record companies doing dumb things now as justifying TPB having done other things things in the past.

>>"I said they weren’t criminals deserving of such harsh punishment. They were businessmen seeing an undersupplied (or let’s be honest, almost completely unsupplied) market and acting upon it. They were no more or less amoral than most businessmen – "

Though unless the decisions in courts were wrong in law, then they are technically criminals, who at the very least, set up their 'business' in the wrong country, or didn't move it at a sensible time.

I'm not sure who they could blame for that apart from themselves.

There are laws I don't agree with (like a fair bit of drug legislation) but if I chose to break the laws and got caught, even if I thought that history might judge me correct, I couldn't really pretend the laws didn't count just because I disagreed with them.

>>"Listen; TPB was wrong…but at the same time they represent the only method of crying out against these sorts of megopolists that regular people have."

Well, people could simply make a point of not buying music made by people signed up to big evil record companies, but *not* rip it off from elsewhere for nothing.

If someone running any other entertainment business is pricing their product so highly that I don't think it's worth it, or I think the business itself is wrong, I do without.

I don't see that I have a right to music, any more than I have a right to theatre or opera or ballet (even if I might actually be subsidising some or all of the latter three).

Any amount of entertainment is priced at a point where I don't think it's worth the money, so I just don't spend money on it, but do something else with my money and time.

People disapproving of Big Media could buy music from somewhere legitimate that does have a business model they approve of, assuming the good business actually has anyone signed up to them that they like.

If the good businesses don't have anyone worth listening to signed up, that'd be at least a reason for wondering why, or even trying to find out.

Maybe it's down to scummy practice on the part of the big labels (cosy deals with the music media and radio stations, exclusive stitch-ups with venues, etc)

Maybe they actually are doing something legitimate in return for their cut of music sales.

Maybe (probably) it's a mix of both.

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