back to article Pirate Bay judge and pro-copyright lobbyist accused of bias

The judge in The Pirate Bay trial has been accused of bias, after Sweden's national radio station revealed that Thomas Norström was a member of the same pro-copyright groups as several of the main entertainment industry reps in the case. Sveriges Radio's P3 news programme claimed Norström is signed up to the Swedish Copyright …

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Black Helicopters

it just proves

the law is an ass.... whichever country your in....

even if they were found guilty in a fit and proper way... the fact the judge had a personal intrest in the case due to his membership of a lobby group in many countries would force a miss-trial..

and as far as convicting someone for helping someone else to comit a crime how is that at all possible? I dont recal in any part of the trial there being anyone halled up into the dock who had been convicted of copyright infringement and making a statement that they could only do so because the pirate bay made it so...

Last i heard, inocent until proven guilty... so without a conviction for a crime, how can someone be found guilty of helping that said person comit a crime.... as far as the law is concerned, that person has not commited a crime so the guys at TPB have been found guilty of helping someone not commit a crime !!! so thats 12months in jail and a 3million quid fine for everyone is it? (dont tell alister darling.... he will plug the hole in the economy with the proceeds)

is that the smell of black helecopter exaust overhead?

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Pirate

@Mark

so are the TBP founders. Pirate Bay has been found to be legal every other time it's been taken to court.

The best the opposition were able to come up with- with a crooked judge, surprise evidence, goalposts (gaolposts?) that moved so much they probably needed jet engines and more dirty tricks than you'd need to get yourself declared innocent after you'd killed the Pope- was that these 4 men had facilitated other people committing a minor offence.

And for helping someone commit this minor offence- which caused no physical harm to anyone and which wasn't of any particular danger to society- lead to them being locked up and given a massive fine.

As far as legal stuff goes, it's not the most clear-cut case is it?

And the Neighbourhood Watch judge wouldn't/shouldn't be allowed to judge on a burglary that happenned in his own neighbourhood.

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@mark

"Head meet wall."

"Ah, I see you've already met".

As previously explained the trial was NOT about a crime, it was about whether a crime had been committed, i.e. whether the defendants' activities were or were not criminal.

There are two polarized views.

Being associated with one side in the case it is not clear that the judge was able to decide impartially WHETHER THEIR ACTIONS WERE OR WERE NOT CRIMINAL.

The law not only needs to be impartial, it needs to be seen to be impartial.

Doh.

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@Sarah Bee

I am using a spell checker

well over 90% of the words in that comment passed the spell checker they are right words they might not be THE right words

the only ones that my spell checker says is wrong

responces

sware

I will admit not to knowing how to correct them so my spell checker can help me

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@Ummm

If the neighbourhood watch was like the recording industry, they would lobby to ban the police to avoid competition, ban citizen's arrest to further erode competition, and give themselves the exclusive right to be neighbourhood watch for the next 100 years.

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Let's clear the AC's up

Right the neighbourhood watch membership reference is facile in the extreme; there is nobody who really support burglary; even someone who often burgles or even dabbles in homestead larceny would object to being themselves burgled.....QED

But let's say in a trial against a Holocaust denier where said mook gets off, the judge turns out to be a prominent natiionalist or member of a nationalist organisation? Conflict

In this case the judge is part of a lobby group which exists not to stop criminality only but to further the interests of large organisations which could be affected by copyright issues (ie are losing money to people not necessarily breaking any law; not directly making reference to TPB here, simply hypothesising) is also a conflict of interests. A judge in any case must be impartial and follow the law as it stands (or follow precident if he/she sees fit) not adapt the law to suit the interests of lobbyists.

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Anonymous Coward

What are the chances of that then?

I wonder how many of Sweden's judges are members of that pro-Copyright organisation? I'm only guessing, and this is a real long shot, but what if the answer is "one". Well, what would be the chances of that happening? Maybe the people who appoint judges to cases need some close scrutiny of their bank accounts.

Whatever, I feel about a bit sorry for the Swedes. The music biz and the Pirates deciding to fight their pitched battle in the Swedish courts has ended up making Sweden look foolish.

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Happy

@michael

So what's "pepol" then, some form of exotic vegetable only found between the Tigris and the Euphrates? Perhaps you shouldn't have been so keen on pressing that "add to dictionary" button, although it probably felt like the right thing to do at the time. :-)

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farce

No conflict of interest? Wow, even for a lawyer that's pushing the language. It's a pity that corrupt judges like that never end up in jail themselves.

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UOM

I feel a new Unit of Measure coming on - the Swedish Judge.

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Unhappy

No conflict of interest?

That's a joke, right?

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JBR
Happy

@michael

“I am playing all the right notes, but not necessarily in the right order.”

Eric Morecambe

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Paris Hilton

@ AC re Umm, 10:44 GMT

"I hope no judges acting on burglary cases belong to a Neighbourhood watch organisation. The judge belongs to a group that opposes criminality? Clearly biased then."

That's exactly right. Here in Canada, Lawyers promoted to the bench have to, in effect, recuse themselves from society, and their resultant social isolation is notorious.

This convention is very well-known. It was a surprise to discover a sitting judge being tangentially involved in a gardening club.

It's a Caesar's wife situation: the judges must not only be impartial, they must be _seen_ to be impartial.

I can't help but add that this in no way prevents the Canadian judiciary from issuing some very odd verdicts from time to time.

Paris because as everyone knows she's quite impartial in bestowing her favors. No Caesar's wife, that gal!

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Truly lame lawyers? Or backup plan?

Why on earth would the defense team NOT have discovered this early on, and raised questions/objections?

Possible answers: 1) They are criminally incompetent for not fully vetting the judge, 2) they wanted to use this as a backup plan if they lost the trial.

Either way, not looking good for the legal profession.

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Tom
Silver badge

Now let me get this straight

the judge MUST have known that this would come to light and so a misstrial would have to be called. So that must mean he, and the pro copyright parties must have expected it to fail in the long run and were hoping to gain some time.

Or perhaps they really are stupid enough to think they have a long term future.

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Happy

@Sarah and Pete (and LOL, too)

Sarah, I think michael is actually dyslexic. For real. So you can't deport him to the US (sorry, bad pun I know).

Just wanted to say sorry to Swede justice: I thought it was worthless for alllowing such a farce of a trial (primary investigator subsequently hired by the accusation, primary investigator unreachable and not willing to testify, charges changed back and fro during the trial, complete misunderstanding of the very technique being evaluated) but it appears that it's just a case of corruption. Which makes it even more of a farce.

Regardless of the final verdict, TPB won in a spectacular manner: they proved that the *Ass. of America (and affiliates) are a bunch of bullish thugs interested only in siphoning the artists' and consumers' money as much as they can get away with. If memory serves that was kinda the aim of the creation of TPB: fighting a copyright system perceived as strongly biased against both the artist and the customer. They made their point in a quite impressive fashion. As suggested by someone else up here, I wonder if the defendant knew about the judge's obvious conflict of interest. That would be why they all were so smug all along the trial.

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Flame

Jesus H

Maybe El Reg'll see fit un-moderate my "smell of brown envelopes" post now, eh? This was rotten to the core and everybody knew it.

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ian
Bronze badge

I know nothing about Sweden...

... but I doubt that a person is allowed to be judge, jury, and executioner there.

However, is Sweden so small that it has only one radio station? That might explain Pirate Bay's existence!

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Paris Hilton

Swedish Excellence in Stupidity

It is obvious that Swedes are very good at many things. Stupidity ignorance and lack of personal integrity are included among those features of "swedishness". It is interesting what things Sweden is becoming famous for in the world. Things like

Top Pirate website - Swedish.

Top police investigator in the case getting a top salaried media job by the media industry: Swedish.

Judge in world famous copyright infringement case sitting on a commite in a lobbygroup sponsored by the media industry: Swedish.

Top messing around with evidence and moving goalposts: Swedish

Top availability of information with regards to all stupidities mentioned above: Swedish.

Don't you just love the courage and attitude which is required to actually be so arrogant and stupid enough under those conditions for all of these things to actually happen? After all the world is watching and it is for all and everyone to be seen? Good that I am Swedish then...

... oh wait

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IT Angle

@michael

"sara is there some way you can make pepol tick a box that says "I sware under pain of death that I have read the preceding article in full and understood and all the comments that proceed mine"?"

At the time I click that button, there may be replies that have been submitted but not yet appeared. I presume the software orders replies by submission time, since I have know it for my own reply to appear and *later* be *preceeded* by other replies. Ms Bee's talents probably stop short of causality violations, though if I'm wrong on this point I'm sure she has already posted a correction.

IT angle: google for "race condition".

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Anonymous Coward

This isn't going to go down well

Is it really a problem that a Judge on a copyright case could be a member of a pro-copyright group, given that the the law has copyright protection enshrined in it?

ah but he was a member of a group that wants tougher copyright law I hear you say. But hold on, does that matter? The job of the judge was to decide whether the existing law was broken. He had no power to change or extend the law. He just made a decision based on the existing law and the facts of the case. So where is the conflict, or am I wrong somewhere?

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Dan

Is it over yet?

From the * I Ass.'s view, the worst thing that could happen would be TPB's crew shutting up and quietly going to jail. No publicity, no more furor, and leave the server running. If someone can come up with a truly anonymous way to maintain the server, perhaps from a Chinese proxy server, then the entire farce can continue.

Also, doesn't the prosecution have to prove that a crime was committed under -Swedish- law?

Has there been any illegal transfer actually facilitated by their site?

So far that has been presumed to be true, but is it a crime in Sweden to help a Yank to transmit a number to a Brit at an address relayed through Sweden? Is it a crime in Sweden for a Swede to help a Yank evade US taxes?

Put another way, would Sweden take a Chinese demand for extradition of everyone who assisted Chinese citizens in their exercise of free speech?

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Go

Planned

Maybe the judge is, in reality, pro-sharing but reckoned his membership in the organizations would get him forcibly "recused" thereby getting the case thrown out and a precedent set.

Just another conspiracy theory.

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Anonymous Coward

So its true

The only people who have no respect for the law are those that make it and those that break it.

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RE AC and Neighborhood watch

The lobbyists are not trying to "fight crime". They are trying to change the law so that actions that they don't like turn into crimes. Its not law enforcement its politics.

This trial puts him in a position to interpret the existing law. There is obviously going to be a temptation to interpret in a way that's favorable to his political agenda.

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Copyrighted content...

...it's OUT there.

LOL

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Bias and appearance

Don't know about Sweden, but here the test in not just whether the judge is actually biased, but whether there is an appearance of bias.

"The question is whether the fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts, would conclude that there was a real possibility that the tribunal was biased." per Lord Hope in Magill v. Weeks [2001] UKHL 67

As Lord Hoffman found out to his cost when he failed to recuse himself from the Pinochet case - despite being a member of Amnesty International, which had filed amicus briefs in the case.

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sooo off topic

@Pete

OK apparently this time my spell checker dose not know what a pepol is but I think it is the plural of person and yes I am severely dyslexic (for real I even have a price of paper saying so)

@ ken

OK many we should amend the button to read

"I swear under pain of death that I have read the preceding article in full and understood and all the comments that are currently posted"?

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Anonymous Coward

Not biased at all.

Belonging to a group that believes in upholding the law is not biased at all!

And @ moylan " if they a made a movie of this farce i'd buy a copy".

You may be the only one buying a copy, the rest would just download it free.

F**K FREETARDS. SINK THE PIRATE BAY!

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@moron 09:03

*** Belonging to a group that believes in upholding the law is not biased at all! ***

THE GROUP DOES LOBBY TO CHANGE THE LAW - it does not lobby for upholding the law!

You are an uninformed and lazy moron sir. You have obviously not bothered to engage your brain or read any of the previous comments before you entered this discussion.

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@ conor turton

*** As someone who has actually read the judgment and the reasoning for why the verdict was given, it was completely fair. It was based on a legal precident set several decades ago where someone can be found guilty for assisting a crime - in the case that set a precident, it was someone who was found guilty of aiding a person to commit a crime by holding their coat. ***

Sorry the verdict is NOT fair.

You are being selectively biased in your choice of argument since the precedent you are using as an example is far fetched and its importance is insignificant to the case at hand. Are you suggesting that other commentators have not read the judgment? That would appear to be rather patronizing!

From a more objective perspective it is easy to see that there are much closer precedents set several decades ago which are MORE RELEVANT to any case about ASSISTING COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT. The important precedents are related to cases about recorder equipment and similar; some had huge implications such as cases about (phillips) cassette tape recorders and video recorders etc. These cases did indeed set a precedent, as they related to legal advertising and selling recording equipment which promoted copyright infringement (advertisement telling people how to record from TV and Radio; how to record music from LP's on tapes etc.)

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re: not biased at all

see this is the reason that we need that button

also dose it seam strange that we have multiple pepol spouting EXACTLY the same argument

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Happy

@michael

Fair enough Michael. Let's make a deal then, I won't worry about your spelling and you won't worry about people that comment on Reg articles without reading all the previous comments. Live and let live, eh? ;-)

Hell, I feel as I have to comment on the topic now. For me it is black and white, the judge should have stepped down from the trial due to conflict of interest. The fact that he decided not to is worrying - it shows a severe lack of judgement, with the potential of not only cocking up the whole trial process but also bringing the Swedish justice system into disrepute. Realising that, I imagine that the big Swedish legal cheeses are right now engaging in a damage limitation exercise and trying to tell everyone that it's all a storm in a teacup and that there was no conflict. It isn't and there was. An official rebuke for the judge and a retrial are in order.

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Silver badge

Actually it's more than a bias

It's collusion, plain and simple. Both the Ass. of America and the judge should face prosecution.

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