Commentary

Jail Time For Swedish 'Pirates'

Early this morning, a Swedish court issued a verdict against three founders of The Pirate Bay and one of the company's financial backers. The court found them criminally liable for copyright infringement, imposed a $3.5 million fine and ordered them jailed for one year.

Hollywood is apparently reveling in its victory. "We welcome the court's decision today because The Pirate Bay is a source of immense damage to the creative industries in Sweden and internationally," Motion Picture Association of American head Dan Glickman said in a statement. "This is an important decision for rights-holders, underlining their right to have their creative works protected against illegal exploitation."

Of course, the entertainment industry also cheered its legal victory against Napster -- only to see revenue continue to plunge as more and more companies emerged to take Napster's place.

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The fact is, media companies can litigate all they want, but it's unlikely that legal measures will ever stop file-sharing -- not when millions of people want to listen to music or watch movies for free, and the technology exists that allows them to do so.

The Pirate Bay team says the site will continue to operate. And even if it was to shutter, other companies enable file-sharing.

The prosecution against Pirate Bay wasn't the only legal effort against piracy in Sweden. At the beginning of the month, a new Swedish law went into effect allowing courts to order Internet service providers to turn over information about suspected file sharers.

But companies are quickly finding ways around this new law. The Pirate Bay itself said it will offer an anonymizing service that allows people to connect to the site via a virtual private network for $6 a month

And earlier this week, the Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof said this week that it will no longer store IP addresses of visitors, according to The Local.

1 comment about "Jail Time For Swedish 'Pirates'".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, April 19, 2009 at 3:40 p.m.

    You're correct that file-sharing won't stop, but well-organized file-sharing run by in-your-face operators will be greatly discouraged.

    Should we stop prosecuting crimes because those same will continue anyway? No, otherwise we could just stop issuing speeding tickets. Likewise, this is a victory for copyright holders, even if the scofflaws elude universal failure.

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