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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  1. Andrew Moore Silver badge
    Coat

    Eck

    That's a worse mangling of the Apocalypse Now quote than the popular but incorrect "I love the smell of napalm in the morning- it smells of victory"

  2. Michael
    Happy

    Lawyers 1 Pirate Bay 1 aet

    I wonder if the defence knew all along .....

  3. Bracken Dawson
    Black Helicopters

    What...

    What was that judge thinking‽

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    lol...

    Regardless of whether the Pirate Bay team are breaking the law or not, this trial has descended through farce and out the other side into the tranquil planes of ludicrous. An inept prosecution dropping half the charges, a guilty verdict and now allegations of corruption. How delicious it is to watch. Someone pass me some popcorn, it's just getting interesting...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So what - Sweden has corruption just like everybody else

    I'm not surprised; the sentences received by the defendants in the trial suggested a slight whiff of rodent in the air.

    Having lived here in Sweden for nearly two decades I wouldn't go along with the tired old story that Sweden doesn't have corruption; here it wears a three piece suit and belongs to various industry and political groups as well as serving on several boards of directors.

    As for many other developed countries I guess; just don't try bribing a traffic officer here to get let off that speeding ticket.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    haha

    "However, Norström insisted to the radio station that his membership of the various copyright protection groups did not “constitute a conflict of interest”."

    He's right, it wouldn't unless the case was about making available copyrigthed materia,....

    oh wait.

  7. Matthew
    Unhappy

    hope they get a retrial

    but i think the end of this case is inevitable

  8. Dick Emery

    The truth will out

    What I find amusing is that the cartels surely thought that by gaining a victory that TPB would close down. All they want is for the site to be unavailable for as long as it takes to go to appeal and beyond. Unfortunately for them the site continues to operate regardless due to it's mirroring and thus proves how the cartels haven't a clue how it really works.

    Anyhow I and meny others knew there was something bogus about the trial result. The prosecutions claims were flimsy at best so there is no way this was not a biased decision.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Trousers down time

    Are we sure this isn't some Hollywood melodrama, it just gets more funny the longer it goes on. Next we will find out it was Inspector Clouseau who did the evidence gathering assisted by the able Larry, Mo and Curly.

    Keep sailing the High Seas boys, The Crimson Permanent Assurance is sailing right with you.

  10. John Sanders
    Pirate

    I kinda knew it...

    Somehow I knew it will end like this, when it comes to legal stuff, there is no solid legal way to stop people sharing goods based on mutual consent.

    And at the end of the day the corporations do not play nice and resort to mafia-like tactics, you make it public then boom.

  11. Dan
    Unhappy

    Jeez

    I didn't follow this one too closely (I don't torrent my stuff), but this strikes me as such an obvious conflict of interest that the judge should be prosecuted for allowing all that time and private/public money to be spent on a trial which was fundamentally flawed. How could anyone possibly keep a straight face while denying a conflict of interest?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Umm

    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.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Straight lobby group

    Looking at the membership, this looks like a straight copyright lobby group. WTF was a judge thinking, joining such a group?

    So did he judge this case on the merits of the law, or on the merits of how this lobby group wishes the law was? Because PirateBay do not infringe copyright and they are no more guilty than the ISP that provides the cable.

    AB Svensk Film Industry

    ALIS LEGALISTIC

    Bonus Presskopia Bonus Press Cc

    BUS BUS

    Fackförbundet för scen och media The union for stage and media

    Föreningen Svenska Tecknare Föreningen Svenska Artistic

    Föreningen Svenskt Näringsliv Association of Swedish Enterprise

    IFPI IFPI

    KLYS/Copyswede Hawse pipes / Copy Swede

    Konstnärernas Riksorganisation, KRO Artists Riksorganisation, KRO

    Microsoft AB Microsoft AB

    SAMI SAMI

    SIF SIF

    SKAP CREATE

    STIM STIM

    Zacco Sweden AB Zacco Sweden AB

    Svenska Fotografers Förbund Swedish Shooting Association

    Svenska Förläggareföreningen Swedish Förläggareföreningen

    Journalisterna i Sverige AB Journalists in Sweden AB

    Svenska Musikerförbundet Swedish Federation of Musicians

    Svenska Musikförläggareföreningen Swedish Music Förläggareföreningen

    Sveriges Författarförbund Swedish Authors Association

    Sveriges Radio Sveriges Radio

    Sveriges Television AB Sveriges Television AB

    Svensk Scenkonst Swedish Performing arts

    Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson

    Filmproducenternas Rättighetsförening Film Producers' Rights Association

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Really...

    You just couldn't make it up if you tried. Maybe it's all a double bluff and the judge is actually pro Pirate bay, because the only other explanation is that he really was dumb enough to think no one would notice.

    Paris - more brains than at least some Swedish Judges.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Appearance of bias is enough to disqualify judge

    I wonder if the judge knew about the lay judges dismissal? It's almost certain that he did. That makes this look even worse for him.

    There's a principle that it isn't enough for a judge to be unbiased, he must have a appearance of unbiased too. Any suspicion of bias is enough to set him aside, doesnt matter if he is biased, mere appearance of bias is enough.

    If a judge, after knowing a a lay judge has been set aside for reasons that could apply to deciding judge too, still stays on the case makes him look corrupt. If he didn't have a motive to stay on case he would have standed aside for another judge.

  16. Aaron

    lol

    Regardless of the supposed right or wrong doing's of the pirate bay guys, having any judge that has proven connections to groups with obvious vested interest in a guilty verdict is clearly unacceptable and as such should result in a mistrial.

    The very fact that another judge was pulled from the trial for similar connections for just this reason's is even more worrying because look at who they replaced him with? And worse still the current judge claim's it cant be a conflict of interest's when even a 5 year old can see there could be very very strong conflict's here.

  17. moylan
    Alien

    ironically

    if they a made a movie of this farce i'd buy a copy

  18. Tim

    legal obligation

    do swedish judges not have to legally declare any interest in the case they are handling then? even if it can be shown there is no conflict, surely they must still announce it.

    or am i one of those fools who thinks the government should be seen to be doing the righ things??

  19. James Le Cuirot
    Pirate

    I knew it too

    I was quietly thinking literally just yesterday about whether the judge might have been bribed, given the amount of money behind this. I tried to dismiss it as an overly cynical view of the justice system. Good to know I was right, after all.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sweden publishes everyones tax returns

    Doesn't Sweden publish everyone's tax returns on the web?

    So we could go take a look...

  21. Stef

    Farce

    Throughout the trial the prosecution - the Judge's great mates we now know - were allowed to get away with producing surprise evidence, in breach of Swedish regulations of disclosure. That alone should have been enough for a mistrial. Then unbelievably harsh sentences on the ridiculous lesser charge of facilitating access - which is no more than Google does. Now we know why. Let's hope the utterly corrupt Moderate Party get a good kicking in the next election.

  22. Ian

    It was obvious something like this had happened.

    There's no way in hell a guilty verdict would've been chosen if the judge was in any way unbiased, not because The Pirate Bay was inherently in the right, but because the prosecution outright failed to prove their case and you can't have a guilty verdict when the prosecution failed to actually prove any wrong doing.

    The only logical conclusion that can be drawn from that was that the judge was either incompetent, or corrupt. Apparently it's the latter.

  23. g e

    Own goal

    Regardless of your viewpoint pro or con, that certainly was somewhere far south of careless.

    FAIL

  24. Lionel Baden

    @AC 10:44 GMT

    No but it would be like a judge judging A trial of his own house getting burgled !!

  25. Steve

    @ Ian

    "The only logical conclusion that can be drawn from that was that the judge was either incompetent, or corrupt. Apparently it's the latter."

    Given how easily he was found out, I'd say it's both.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Grief...

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

    I wouldn't. The plot is full of holes, the bad guys are too shallow, the whole court case is simply not realistic enough (http://politiken.dk/newsinenglish/article695947.ece , http://www.aftenposten.no/kul_und/musikk/article3034488.ece (norwegian)). Not a blockbuster IMO.

    But as a news story - bring it on, I've got plenty of popcorn left... :-)

  27. edwardecl
    Thumb Down

    I knew it...

    I thought on the day they verdict was out it was corrupt, and that political pressure or bribing was involved. Glad to know I was right.

    But to know now that another judge was pulled for the same reason this just makes me think that that judge was delibratly chosen and tried to hide it. I think the music/movie industry has a lot to answer for here, especially when you remember that one of the police officers is now working for the enternaitment induistry and tried to be a key witness they most certainly got involved here as well, I mean what are the chances?

    Good news for the pirate bay though, thats if nobody else gets bribed to look the other way...

    How much lower can they go?

  28. Graham Wood
    Stop

    @10:44 AC

    Last time I checked, neighbourhood watch schemes weren't lobbying for anything.

    There's a difference between being a member of an organization that's trying to help reduce crime, and one that's trying to get the laws about a subject changed. Pretty important difference, especially in this case.

    Having said that, I'd also agree with the other comments - the judge needs to appear unbiased as well as actually being unbiased. To use the trite phrase 'justice needs to be seen to be done'.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    @umm

    *** 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. ***

    Sorry but that comment is based on a false comparision and due either to ignorance or cynical support for the agenda of the lobbygroup.

    The agenda of the group is focused on changing the law so that things that currently ARE NOT ILLEGAL would become illegal. This is not the same as simply opposing criminality. You could also argue that the lobby group is promoting the assertion of "rights" which they do not actually have. In this particular case the judge is a member of a lobby group which promotes companies to act in breach of existing contractual rights and responsibilities sponsored by law in Sweden between buyer and seller of copyrighted material.

    The judge is a member of a group which is promoting industrially practiced criminal behaviour.

  30. Andy Neale
    Thumb Down

    Blackadder all over again

    Reminds me of the episode in Blackadder Goes Forth where General Melchett acts as the judge in the case of the 'eaten' messenger pigeon.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporal_Punishment_(Blackadder)

    The General is also the victim (it was his pigeon) and he appears for the prosecution as a witness too.

    So this proves you CAN make this kind of stuff up...

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    Movie

    Yeah, I'll look forward to the movie of all this, and look forward to getting a torrent link from the Pirate Bay! :)

  32. James Ewin
    Thumb Up

    Re: Blackadder all over again

    Lol, superb

  33. Wortel
    Pirate

    Surprise, surprise

    Told you we'd be hearing more of this. Bring 'er round, reload!

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @AC

    "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."

    There are two main objections :-

    1- If the judge is a member or supporter of a lobbying group whos intentions are directly related to the case in question, that judge must recuse himself..... personal interest in the outcome is a bad thing. They would simply assign a new judge to the case. Justice served

    2- The case here isn't about the criminality or otherwise of 'copyright theft'.... it's about weather or not those four individuals actually commited said crime. And based on the judgment In this instance, the judge thinks anyone who 'facilitates' this crime is as guilty as the little fella in the duffle coat who hangs around the back of my office selling knockl-off DVDs. And therefore it follows that the ISP, the cable companies, the router companies, the PC manufacturers, etc.... are all equally quite. Quid pro quo.... can't have your cake AND eat it.

    I'll have Paris....cause we'll always have Paris....

  35. Conor Turton

    As someone who has actually read the judgment...

    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.

    Their defence would have to be that they did not know what the site was being used for nor were they in a position of responsibility at any level - both of those they cannot use due to their positions and the notices they received from copyright holders.

  36. Rob Crawford
    Pirate

    @ac Ummm

    If a friend of a judge had their house burgled should that judge preside over the accused trial ?

    Provide a valid comparison next time.

    I dislike the freetards who don't want to pay for anything, however there are quite a lot of legal torrents which are useful for various distributions when there is an issue with the official torrent.

  37. Rob Burke
    Joke

    This trial will not change anything...

    Whilst the outcome of the trial doesn't really matter - as long as Google and the rest aren't forced to go all China on our asses - I do hope there is a retrial and TBP wins.

    Since piracy 'is linked to terrorism' and our home secretary is a raging lunatic, I wonder how I can keep downloading for.....

    Joke.... because piracy is no laughing matter.

  38. Inachu
    IT Angle

    This judge is a complete idiot.

    To not excuse himself from this case for being bias is like having a wold as the judge and the victim sheep put the sheep ing wolf on trail and the wolf judge finds the wolf sheep eater innocent.

    RIAA is in bed with the justice system = no justice

  39. Steve Evans
    Pirate

    What?!

    He doesn't think that is a conflict of interest...? Would he please tell us what else he would have to do to qualify?!!!!

  40. steogede

    Re: Umm

    >> 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.

    I can see where you are coming from, however Neighbourhood Watch aren't a lobbing organisation. Belonging to a group that opposes criminality is one thing; but a judge belonging to a group who want to change the law, that is another thing. Consider the fact that judge are able to set (case) law with very little oversight. In the UK at least, legislation is only a guideline, it's up to the judges how they interpret it. IMHO judges should be like royalty, they shouldn't be allowed opinions on anything - much less be allowed to express an opinion (explicitly or through membership of a group).

  41. Ben Rosenthal
    Pirate

    burglary legal now?

    awesome, mines the one with the balaclava and pry bar in the pocket.

  42. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Lay judges...

    Just in case you don't know about how the Swedish Tingsrätt is judged:

    Case is decided by a proper judge and three lay judges.

    A lay judge is not required to have any legal education whatsoever, and may not be employed as a policeman, prosecutor, solicitor or anything within the legal business. They are appointed by the political parties in council boards, and with an average age of 57, mainly consist of retired politicians and long-time party members not fit for "out going" positions, or very young unemployed party youth association leaders in need of an income while doing full time party work to promote their future career.

    Political judgements, nooooo!

    Paris, coz she would know how to lay judges...

  43. mark Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    I dont see the problem

    The judge is a member of pro-copyright groups?

    So am I - the group called "law abiding citizens"

    wheres the conflict?

    Its like a burglar claiming bias because the Judge is in the neighborhood watch scheme!

  44. Winkypop Silver badge
    Pirate

    Hahaha

    All your FAIL are now belong to us!

  45. Ernest
    Jobs Halo

    The messiah

    Hai guise im back in June! miss me yet?

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Dick Emery

    I am sure this is a longer term thing than that. Seriously I doubt very much whether the relevant Ass.s believe that prosecuting those behind the Pirate Bay will even shut down the Pirate Bay, let alone stop music/film/software piracy.

    However, they will know that if enough people are fined and imprisoned then it *will* stop, or at least become negligible. And you have to start somewhere.

    But, let's look at the global picture, because laws and made and enforced according to the requirements of politicians at the time. Politicians have four main worries (all related to re-election and power): funding, popularity within party, popularity with voters and not appearing corrupt.

    Funding is mainly at the whim of big business, so politicians will lean towards supporting the music/film/software industries anyway. Most politicians won't pirate stuff so no worries about legality and popularity within party will depend on how the rest of the party thinks.

    So the main factor in all of this is what the public want. And hard as it is for the Pirate Bay supporters to accept the majority of voters in the West at least think that illegal downloading of stuff is wrong, and interestingly enough most also equate P2P with illegal downloading.

    So, whatever happens with the Pirate Bay in the near future, laws will change and, as can be seen here as a good example, the majority of those opposing any crackdown will come across as a bunch of whiney children who think it is their right to steal stuff because "it is overpriced" or "the artists get stiffed by the record companies" or "boo-hoo I can't now get shit for free that I should never have been able to get for free".

    Which will just make the voters more convinced that P2P is simply there to enable theft.

    Which will make it more difficult for the grown-ups to argue against surveillance, deep packet inspection, possible mandatory government spyware (has already been mooted in some circles) and other nasty things like that.

  47. michael

    @mark

    did you not real all the responces to the previous ac

    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"?

  48. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @mark

    Yes, repetition is annoying but people can't always be arsed to read all the comments. I mean, I know I wouldn't if I didn't have to.

    I thought you'd started using spellcheck now - would you be a dear? I'll make you a cuppa. Mmmm. Cuppa.

  49. Scott Swarthout
    Alert

    There is no conflict of intrests

    This serves his intrests perfectly.

  50. MnM
    Thumb Down

    @mark

    It is such a cack analogy! I'm afraid you've repeated it without crediting the much derided original author, who had sufficient brain power to entitle his comment 'Umm'. Now go and turn yourself in.

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